Post title is in quotes because it comes from David Reich over at my 2 cents. Always give credit where credit is due. I've been fortunate to take part in David's musings on newspapers the last couple weeks. David is my new favorite blogger because he has a category labeled "newspapers" :) - And he's convinced they're not quite dead. I've also been fortunate to be in the newspaper business - circulation and marketing - for over 20 years.
In the post, David cites an article in Media Life which talks about newspaper readership growing if we include print AND online. The article talks about the "younger, affluent audience" being reached online. Then David asks a great question:
"Why aren't newspaper publishers aggressively pushing this positive and welcome news to the ad community?"I am decidedly not a newspaper publisher - but I work for a great one! I can answer the question through my lens alone - give a touch of recent history and maybe forecast a little. Newspapers have long been established via ink on paper. In the last 3-5 years, their online presence has grown enormously. Now newspapers can be read via pixels on a page, too. And a lot more information can be placed on a website. But print on paper is still the farm. Print pays the rent. It's still delivered, its portable, and you don't need a wireless card to read it. Who cares? The community you live in! Just like the community of bloggers with which you read and interact. Don't kid yourself - if you're part of a blogging community and somebody stops posting...the community cares. This assumes the blogs have value and worth.
Advertisers are only just beginning to see the audience that is attracted to newspaper websites. Just like they are seeing audiences attracted to blogger sites. But advertisers demand results (along with profits) and online measurements of readers are not exactly concrete - although they are improving. Does the last 3-5 years coincide with anything that is happening with online tracking/measurement? Page views, impressions, click-thrus, traffic reports...these are all new terms. Can they be verified? In some ways - yes. Mostly its like the Gary Larson cartoon "what dogs say and what cats hear" - the meaning gets lost in the translation. Isn't it an education process?
For too long, the newspaper business has looked for a silver bullet to stop circulation declines. Searching for the Holy Grail - reminder, nobodies ever found it :) Doesn't stop us from looking for it. It ain't there. Fewer people buy the local paper but my hunch is people still read it. And certainly people still buy things - which is what the ad community really wants. Newspapers and online are not the same but they both demand interaction. Just like a true community.
Whether its print or online - newspapers matter in the community.
Here and here are previous posts on newspapers.