Times are turning as newspapers are drowning in the age of the internet.
A recent story, “Inside the Collapse of The New Republic” posted by The New Yorker, takes readers inside the collapse of The New Republic specifically. As I read about the multitude of different situations that led to the collapse collapse of this magazine, I began thinking about the future of local newspapers.
According to Business Insider’s, “The Year The Newspaper Died” story, 105 newspapers were shuttered and 10,000 jobs were lost in journalism in 2009. What did this mean? In Q1 alone, the story states that ad sales saw a 30% decrease due to the collapse of the economy. The recession of the economy left business short for advertising dollars. Another problem was that elder traditional minded employees failed to have the skill set needed for online versions or disagreed with the new methods management was engaging on them.
In recent years, the Detroit Free Press has struggled through this and has downsized employees and lessened space, but the new Executive Editor, of last year, Robert Huschka, has been challenging the company digitally according to Crain’s Detroit. Huschka does not want to see this paper fail. The paper is said to have adopted a playbook of “talking less and launching more.”
According to the Newspaper Death Watch, 389 newspapers nationwide, since 2009, have folded. This is a large number and growing rapidly as online mobile news stories and apps are increasing. Not only does this site have a count of dead newspapers, they also feature a “Work In Progress” list that updates whether major metro dailies have cut frequency or adopted hybrid online/print or online-only models.
You can notice that the Detroit Free Press is on this list.
Having grown up in the Metro Detroit area near Ann Arbor, I am shocked. In my opinion, I think the Detroit Free Press is well in the category of moving forward and innovating online with mobile worthy stories and apps. The Detroit Free Press has presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and has an app with mobile adapted stories as well as a SoundCloud channel where viewers can listen to podcasts.
The Free Press app is well received and since the company expanded the breadth of its push alerts to promote content beyond breaking news, the company has seen an increase in 22% readership as stated on Net News Check.
To keep the business alive, the publication has partnered up with a few big-name sites such as careerbuilder.com and cars.com to keep their advertising sales flowing on mobile and web.
What do you think the future of your local newspapers is?