Top News Story 2009: Declining advertising and classified sales, waning subscription numbers, the 24-hour news cycle and new competition brought by internet innovators are among the myriad challenges facing newspapers in the recession-plagued 21st century.
The shake up in the newspaper and magazine industry has had some predicting the demise of the printed publication. But a transformation has occurred, instead, that sees the entire industry forging new frontiers to survive.
In late 2006 Andrew Davis, president of the American Press Institute commented that the “newspaper industry is about a $76 billion industry and about $7 billion is invested just in the news product. It’s my firm belief that everything else out there — network TV, local TV, the blogosphere, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Jon Stewart — they are all derivative of those daily newspaper reporters and editors. They start their day reading newspapers. The challenge in a free and democratic republic is to have an informed citizenry. Without that $7 billion investment, what will support that informed citizenry?”
His tune may have changed five years later as more and more information is gathered immediately from the web using your phone, lap top and iPad. It seems this is a time for a fresh, top to bottom rethinking of the entire publication business.
Jack Utko, a renowned re-designer of newspapers, said in 2009, “I think we should all accept the thought that, one day, there won’t be any printed newspapers. There will be niche products for smaller groups — exclusive things that are reminders of the old times. But I don’t believe the general newspaper, in the state that we know it now will survive.”
What will be the next step? Utko asks: A plastic screen with WiFi that we all carry around, with a touchscreen? Or will we only use mobile phones? Some people say laptops are already history, and that the future is on mobile phones. It would be amazing to try to find a prototype for that future.
Still, during an average week, 86 percent of Oregon adults, or about 2.5 million, read a newspaper (American Opinion Research 10/10). This is good news but no time to sit and wait for what many believe is the inevitable.
Cascade Publications has been working diligently over the past few months to give our readers numerous options for reading are various news features. We still have our tried and true print publications: Cascade Business News, Cascade AE, Sunriver Magazine, Redmond Visitors Guide and the annual Book of Lists. BUT all of those publications can soon be found on their respective websites complete with full downloadable pdf formats and flip page readers. The sites are interactive with up-to-date calendars, photos and archived feature stories.
As Rupert Murdoch points out Google has devised a brilliant search engine that scrapes all the material published in the world and on the back of that they sell search, but they don’t pay for the raw material. “We have to do something about that,” he says. Every time Cascade Publications puts articles on our websites Google picks them up and sends them out to the world. We like that, but realize we’re putting in a lot of work for Google.
Enter our E-Headlines format. This is a brand new feature now offered to our readers and subscribers. The e-blast is sent out twice weekly to nearly 4,000 local emails and contains selected material on regional and local business news, issues and columns that we think you’ll find interesting.
Adding to our continued adaptation of the web we are using social media as we look at multiple platforms for news distribution. We also offer to several of our clients an e-newsletter HTML that is sent out regularly to targeted markets around the region.
Whatever the model for the future, one of our goals at Cascade Publications is to ensure that a diverse and independent news media endures and that local news and feature stories are delivered to you in as many formats as possible.
If you’d like to be added to our E-Headlines format please let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org. PHA