Cold Type

No slug is safe in today’s newsroom

Up the proverbial stream

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A Pew Research Center study reported recently that online journalists aren’t nearly as freaked out about the future of journalism as they were a year ago. While most still agree that online reporting is changing for journalism as a whole for the worse, fewer of them feel that way now and they’re very or somewhat confident a new business model will be found to keep journalism intact for years to come. Considering journalists in general are a cynical bunch, maybe there’s some hope in all of this?

Or maybe not. Count me in the skeptical camp for now. As someone who’s still on the inside, working for a daily newspaper, I have to report that the business model isn’t there yet to sustain online journalism. It’s hard to get exact numbers from the top brass, but last I heard we only get about 5% of our overall revenue from online efforts, whether it’s display or classified ads. A couple of years ago, it was slightly higher and increasing but then came the recession and further massive erosion of classified dollars that fled to Craigslist.

I’m trying to remain optimistic but I have to wonder if we’ll ever see the online revenue stream come even close to those we see in print. Maybe if we pulled the plug on print and forced the ad dollars over to digital, though I’d think that would only work if you were the only big paper in your market. The Seattle P-I recently saw it’s online traffic take a hit after going strictly online, but it’s competing with The Seattle Times which still has a print product to market the online side and a much bigger reporting staff. Until a major metro market is left with only an online news resource, we may not know if a truly successful digital business model will be spawned and if one is, can it survive against broadcast competition?

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Written by coldtype

April 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] had posted a new blog entry answering — sort of — the question I’d just posed in Up the proverbial stream. In this post, they allude to a study on Physorg.com that states “researchers from the City […]


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