Reports of newspapers’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.
While it seems we can’t go 48 hours without someone — ironically, it’s usually a member of the media — decrying the impending demise of print news, nothing could be further from the truth.
Newspapers remain a vital, vibrant part of their communities — and Colorado Springs is fortunate to have so many print options for a metropolitan area of slightly more than 730,000 people.
Our home-grown print media provide in-depth coverage — the kind you can’t get in a two-minute segment on television or from clickbait on Facebook.
In fact, a review of cable network news shows that even those 24-hour broadcasts rely heavily on newspaper journalism — they aren’t reporting the news, they’re just talking about the news, relying on print reporters’ hard work as fodder for their opinions. That’s not the same thing as objective, fair, accurate reporting, folks. Don’t be misled.
Newspapers are intellectual assets, with content and credibility as their currency. Our online readership is robust; our engagement with the audience has never been stronger; more people are reading the print version. As newspapers move from passively providing content in paper formats to actively engaging with the public, the paper will become even more valuable to subscribers and advertisers alike.
Our platforms have changed, that much is true. We now have myriad ways of delivering the latest to our readers: in print, in online editions, personally via blogs, podcasts, Facebook and Twitter. We can send push notifications to your phone. We can hold events dedicated to specific news topics; we can connect people in ways we never dreamed of in the 1980s and ’90s. The industry is changing; it is not dying.
And that’s good news for readers and the public. Journalists have a commitment to the truth, to holding public officials accountable to the people they serve, to providing fair, objective coverage to their readers. That’s an unwavering principle of newspapers, and one that we take seriously at the Business Journal.
It’s good news for advertisers too. As we pay closer attention to who is reading, where and why, we can provide the right audience through the right platform.
New shifts in global economics also benefit newspapers. According to Forrester Research, we’re at the beginning of the Age of the Customer. They think the next two decades will see a shift from a manufacturing-based economy, with companies selling products to strangers in single transactions, to a subscription-based economy with companies engaging in relationships with consumers. And what industry is better positioned to lead the way than newspapers?
As the next generation of consumers looks for ways to price and purchase products anywhere at any time, newspapers will remain competitive — and they stand to regain lost market shares.
The challenge? Providing the engaging, important, necessary content readers crave. They want both hard, breaking news and in-depth investigative reports; they want video and advice from local experts. Whatever the niche, newspapers will fill it.
The numbers show that if you do it right, readers respond: Millennials spend 38 percent more time reading newspapers (online and off) than Generation X.
It’s up to us to provide content, hire quality journalists, fight the “fake news” label and develop new ways to create loyal readers.
Newspapers aren’t dead — we’re just reinventing ourselves.