Tough times for newspapers

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Every time I see a new roundup or report on the state of newspaper today, I get depressed.

The 13th Annual Pew Research State of the News Media Report documented another year of declining circulation and revenue for the profession I have spent most of my life pursuing.

In 2015, newspapers lost another seven percent of daily circulation and eight percent in advertising revenues — the worst decline since the 2008-2009 recession.

In this year, Pew Research found that only five percent of those following the  Presidential election say newspapers are the most helpful choice for new on the race.

Of that five percent, three check election news in local papers and two percent look at national papers — the lowest “by far” among available channels for information.

The Knight Foundation found that only 20 percent of Americans consider newspapers a “frequent source of news. ”

That’s only a tick above those who get their news from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Newspapers lag behind local TV news (cited by 46 percent of news seekers), cable TV news (31 percent), network evening news (30 percent), news web sites (28 percent) and radio (25 percent).

In 2004, when Pew started keeping track of who used what sources for news, the printed newspaper page dominated, leaving both the Internet and radio by large margins.

Today, those who attempt to work for a newspaper, account for an declining majority.  Some 40 percent of newspaper jobs have disappeared since 2004, 10 percent in the last year alone.

While newspapers have turned to the web as a way to report news, the Internet is not kind to the news business when it comes to covering costs.  News web sites routinely lose money.

Says Pew:

(The) robust digital advertising market has not lifted most news publishers — even digitally native ones — out of a place of financial uncertainty, as competition for those ad dollars and the rise of consumer ad-blocking pose challenges to their digital business models…. For the many local and regional digital publishers that dot the U.S., a combination of ad sales, philanthropy, individual giving and other revenue streams pay the bills.

Even large news operations like The Washington Post, Politico and The Huffington Post lose money on their web sites.

Good thing I quit drinking many years ago.  I’d be heading to a bar right now to drown my sorrows in a glass of single malt scotch.

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