Final Paper: Newspaper Industry

Recently, the newspaper industry has  been making headlines (no pun intended) about the tough times it has been facing. Small daily newspapers have been folding around the country as they have become less and less profitable. This is in part due to the nature of the way that Americans receive their news. More people are reading their news on the Internet or watching it on TV, instead of picking up a newspaper. I found an interesting report that was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that found that 80% of the 2000+ people surveyed said that they got their campaign news of the past election from watching TV and 16% said they used the internet. Although the site does not mention where newspapers stand in this survey, there is not much room left for them. 

On top of this, ad revenue is down a extreme amount. According to the Newspaper Association of America, total advertising revenue decreased by 16.6% to 37.85% (this includes both online and print. That’s a lot of money. The typical newspaper (including the Bucknellian, the paper that I am the ad manager for) makes its almost all its profits from advertising as well as some from subscriptions. For the case of the Bucknellian, we typically see revenues of $70,000 a year. We place both national and local ads in our paper. I’ve noticed a big difference in the attitudes of our advertisers from the Fall semester to the Spring semester. In the fall, I was able to sign on about 20-25 contracted clients, while this semester, we’ve added about 3-5 new clients. Everyone is too worried about the economy to spend more money. Even national clients have told us that they do not have the money to spend in a small market. Just last week, I received a letter from one of our national ad agencies warning us not to raise our rates to raise revenue because we will probably lose too many clients, effectively losing money.

Anyway, I want to write my final paper on the newspaper industry and the Bucknellian as a series of six or so blogs. I will discuss the organizational structure of a typical newspaper, such as the Bucknellian. I also want to examine how a newspaper fits into its local community as well as the convergence of media organizations around the country. I also want to write about the revenue structure of a newspaper and how it has to change or in what ways it will change to be sustainable Finally, I will discuss how the internet and televison has changed the news reporting industry. Any suggestions?

2 Responses

  1. I think this is a really interesting topic, especially since you have a first hand experience with an actual newspaper. One suggestion I have is to spend a chunk of your paper concentrating on innovation, particularly the rise of the internet and why this has forced the newspaper industry to change and possibly where they will end up in the future. Good luck!

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