The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (8 comments)

  1. So just where are those ad dollars going?

    Note the following from Pew’s State of the News Media 2013 – An Annual Report on American Journalism
    (an interesting read)
    The 2012 ratio was 16 print ad dollars lost for every digital ad dollar gained…

  2. jay hoenemeyer

    When you anger up 60%of your potential readers with palpable bias , it looks ugly . It looks like this . Moreover , as an advertiser , why would you want your product/service ad sitting next to the article that just angered up your customer . You wouldn’t . So go ahead blame it on the internet or whatever . But in any event , couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys and gals

    1. aiken_bob

      agree — I love it when you get all the newspaper folks talking about their falling status – all the usual suspects are talked about but they never look in the mirror. It will be interesting to see what fills the void.

  3. Benjamin Cole

    1. Newspapers are not supposed to be “objective.” That criteria is for use of public airwaves. If you do not like a newspaper, you can read another one. Is the Wall Street Journal “objective?” I like it, but I know it has its own set of biases.

    2. It is not a happy day in civic America across the country. You think government is weak, incompetent and corrupt now, just wait until they can operate behind curtains.

    3. I do hope local blogs, websites emerge to cover government, expose fraud, corruption, etc. It is not happening. That kind of work eats up the hours. 99 percent of blogs just piggyback off of news covered by real news reporters at old-line publications. Everyone wants to be a columnist, no one wants to be a reporter, read through files, blueprints, documentation.

    If this excellent blog you are racing now—essentially, just a piggyback operation.

  4. Linda Seebach

    “Newspaper employees” includes both journalists and assorted other categories — advertising, circulation, production, for instance — and the “other” category is by far the larger, and more susceptible to productivity improvements due to technology. The paper I worked for (the Rocky Mountain News, now gone) had about 200 journalism employees when I started there in 1997, and about 1,200 in other departments. A new computer system eliminated whole production departments and greatly reduced the number of people needed in advertising.

    While bias in news (I wrote editorials, which are supposed to be opinionated) does affect circulation, and thus advertising revenue, the biggest hit to revenue came in classified ads (jobs, autos, real estate) that migrated to the Internet. Those advertisers probably didn’t much care what the newspaper was publishing, as long as people were answering their ads, since even people who hated the news coverage would buy the paper when they were looking for a used car. Now they go to Craigslist.

    Display advertisers are somewhat more sensitive to content and ad placement, but they are also more affected by general economic conditions.

    A graph for journalism jobs alone would likely have a somewhat similar shape, since loss of ad revenue eventually pushes employment down, but the drop would likely start later. When the Rocky closed in 2009, it had about the same number of journalism employees as in 1997. That makes “bias” an unlikely cause, since it is hardly that recent a phenomenon.

  5. Steve Adams

    What a happy day!!! 1/2 way done! Looking at how well the existing 220k of professional journalists covered the Kermit Gosnell murders I don’t think we are losing much.

    The money I was spending on job postings and classifieds stays in my pocket maybe to pay for dinner out, a trip to the Dr. or a new printer. Total social wealth increases!

    1. Linda Seebach

      I agree with you about the appalling lack of coverage of Gosnell’s trial; but there are not 220,000 “professional journalists”; that’s how many people work for newspapers, but only about 40,000 of them are journalists — which was my point — and of those, only a tiny fraction have jobs that in any way would overlap with covering anything other than local news. Probably a few hundred at most.

      Most newspapers rely on the wire services for all their national and international news. And that’s nothing new; the Associated Press was formed in 1846, pretty much as soon as there existed (telegraph) wires, because local and regional papers had no way to cover — for instance — the Civil War.

      The Rocky back then had a two-paragraph wire-service report on Appomattox, which did not even recognize it was the end of the war.

      If the local papers that go to the school board and city council meetings, file FOIA requests for the records of shady officials, investigate industrial pollution — the meat and potatoes of local journalism — have to downsize or close because some fraction of those few hundred people irresponsibly let their personal support for abortion rights outweigh their news judgment about the importance of the Gosnell case, communities once served by those papers will be much the poorer for it.

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