40 years down the track apparently this will be the norm – Children at a museum. Standing in awe . Amazed at the sight of the ancient relic in the glass cabinet. Amazed at what was known in ‘the olden days’ as the ‘newspaper’.
If you caught The 7.30 Report on the ABC on Tuesday night (26 May) you will know what I’m talking about.
Thea Dikeos reported on the supposed ‘uncertain future for newspapers’. The newspaper appears to be the most recent addition to the endangered species list – and according to the recent natter on the topic, this species is quickly heading down the path to extinction.
It seems this downslide may have already begun… Across the world, publications are falling one by one into the financial crisis pit of doom. ABC reported that the publisher of the ‘Los Angeles Times’ and the ‘Chicago Tribune’ filed for bankruptcy. In the past year in the UK, more than 50 local and regional newspapers have closed up shop.
An article posted on Crikey raised the question – but why should this concern us? Well, if history is to prove correct, if it’s plaguing the US and the UK, we can rest assured that eventually the same plague will hit our home shores as well.
And perhaps this plague is closer than we think. According to The 7.30 Report, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have barely made a profit over the past few days. Still not convinced – have a look at Triple J’s TV Hack – ‘Death of the Newspaper’.
It appears that young people no longer read newspapers. The overall sales of newspapers is declining. People are now using blogs and twitter as their daily news sources.
Ok so we are concerned. What can we do?
Brand dna blogger, Stan Lee came up with the suggestion that perhaps all newspapers should be free which would give the publisher enormous reach and readership, “not for its news – for its advertising”. Agreed – this would attract the advertising dollars breathing new life into diminishing bank accounts. However the inherent risk of this turning newspapers into one oversized advertorial makes me shudder.
Another suggestion from Rupert Murdoch, who was quoted on The 7.30 Report, is that with newspaper profits falling, the age of free online newspaper content is now over. Paid online subscriptions, in his opinion, is apparently the way to go. I personally would not pay to read the news on smh.com.au.
Personally I can’t imagine a world without print journalism. Therefore I don’t believe the Australian government should ever let the predicated death of the newspaper become a reality. I agree with online publisher, Erin Beecher that if a newspaper was headed for bankruptcy, the federal, state or local government should have a responsibility to step in with funding.
Perhaps this view simply comes from the fact that I like sipping my coffee on a Sunday morning with a paper spread across the kitchen table. Perhaps it’s the industry I work in. Working in public relations, my day just wouldn’t be the same without a pile of newspapers sitting on the corner of my desk. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but a society without newspapers seems, well, just wrong.
Where do you see newspapers in the future? It would be great to hear your thoughts on this one.
– Gemma Crowley