Made for Sound Bite Statements

Made for Sound Bite Statements

Matt HealeyTuesday,12 August 2014

The Snap:

I like The New York Times. Most of the time I find the news they report to be accurate and, while biased — as all publications are, not too biased. It was not true for this article, Print Is Down, and Now Out.

The Download:

My problem with the article was the following sentence: “The persistent financial demands of Wall Street have trumped the informational needs of Main Street.” It sounds good. It is one of the statements that are made to be picked up as a sound bite. The problem is that it is not true. It is not the demands of Wall Street that is killing print, it is technology. Newspaper circulation rates reached their peak in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s and have been declining ever since. Fewer and fewer people are getting their news and information from print news. They are going to the web or TV. So it is not that financial demands have trumped the information needs, it is that the information needs are being satisfied through another channel.

People are still getting their news; it is simply that the local papers have not kept up with the changing times. They clung to a business model that was unsustainable in the face of changes in consumption behavior. The print publications were slow to embrace on-line publication and even slower to embrace paid on-line publishing. They were justifiably afraid that they would lose the advertising revenue that they had come to rely on. So they resisted the changes giving others a chance to jump in and fill the void.

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