For most of America, the Great Recession came and went, but
the newspaper industry recession has been a fact of life for over a decade
now. However, the New York Times, Ganett and other publishers
actually reported strong profits in the second-half of 2015. No one is giddy
but all of a sudden, in the early days of 2016, things are feeling a little
less dire in the newspaper publishing industry.
Generally speaking, among advertisers and consumers, the
working thesis is that newspaper readership is rapidly aging and it’s only a
matter time before newspapers (with their readers) die off. I beg to differ.
Consider a recent Buzzfeed article titled ‘’10 Life-Changing
Things to try in 2016.’’
An actual print subscription
to the New York Times was second on the list. For the Buzzfeed writer, given
all the time he spent on screens throughout the day, a half-hour reading the
print edition of the paper was therapeutic and centering. His comment…’’I don’t
have to spend all day checking the news for updates. Whatever happens today,
I’ll read about it tomorrow.’’ This is just one anecdote but surely the writer
is not alone in his daily experience of digital overload and the need to have some downtime away from his ”digital life.” News consumers, in
their 20s and 30s, are discovering the unique benefits and qualities of print
Without a doubt, newspapers are struggling through a
transitional time but they are not on a death march. Newspapers will be both digital
and print. Some newspapers, not all, will get better at both products. They
will survive (and maybe thrive) because they’ll learn what works best in each
space, for their readers and for their advertisers.