Editor & Publisher Asks, “Will Most Newspapers Drop Print Within 10 Years?”


Unfortunately, I think the E&P question, “Will Most Newspapers Drop Print Within 10 Years?” is optimistic in regards to print.

I love print journalism, but I think the shift will happen well ahead of 10 years. The shift has already moved faster this year than I would have predicted last year, and that’s not going to slow down.

First: auto industry shock waves have not yet had their full impact. GM & Chrysler are now scaling back their advertising; followed by the thousands of local car dealers that will soon close.

Second: even when the recovery occurs, and things get better, advertising levels for print media will not return to pre-recession levels. This is the new normal.

Unfortunately, that means, I think, a shift taking less time than 10 years.

That said, I agree with some of the other people leaving comments: Some print media will remain because of production values (those that rely on photography), because of brand recognition (Wall St. Journal), etc. I also think online-only newspapers will continue to publish Sunday hardcopy editions as well as special editions to note significant and historic events.

Of course, one problem for online-only media is that it’s still an unproven business model for full-scale local market coverage. It has worked for Slate. Worked for local city coverage in New Haven and elsewhere. But the latter examples do not attempt to cover the wide range of news and features that print newspapers currently cover.

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