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Washington Post's sad decline raises tricky questions in US
Guardian (UK) ^ | Saturday 9 June 2012

Posted on 06/11/2012 8:53:11 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin

The Washington Post is, perhaps, the best known newspaper in the world. Yes, the Post has a resounding, historic name: but, baby, look at it now.

Today's Post has suddenly come to symbolise everything that's contentious about daily journalism's survival in the 21st century, and thus to pose two crucial questions. Is the Wall Street way a viable approach to running a newspaper these days? And how do you cope with the surge to news online: by charging customers, or giving your news away free?

In America, these battles are being fought out between the quasi-academic likes of the Columbia Journalism Review and Professor Clay Shirky of New York University, the supreme guru of internet ideology. But first catch up with some facts.

The Washington Post Company's newspaper division has lost money in 13 of the last 15 quarters. Total loss over that period: $412m. The latest quarterly figures reveal a $23m loss and a 7% drop in revenue. Indeed, revenue has now slithered down in 20 of the last 22 quarterly returns. Last year's annual figures show it at $314m, a third less than in 2006. Print advertising has shrivelled by 53% in that period. As for digital ad revenue, and supposed salvation, that's down too – by 8% in the new returns. Amazingly, it too has slipped back over the past five years.

In short, everything's shrinking: the money coming in, the future – and the newsroom, now getting by on around half its former staffing. The most recent cull has reduced the investigation team from seven to four. It's a stark and cautionary tale – at least for Ryan Chittum in the Columbia review. And he has two great beefs against the people – the management suits – he holds responsible.

(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: journalism; liberalmedia; trends; wp

1 posted on 06/11/2012 8:53:15 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: DeaconBenjamin
Gosh, maybe they should be a little more unbiased in their POV? Maybe stop ticking off half the American public?

Of course, this is only part of the problem, the other is that technology is not their friend. People don't need to buy a paper anymore. What's that saying ... adapt or die?

2 posted on 06/11/2012 8:56:37 AM PDT by LibertarianLiz
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To: DeaconBenjamin

The only people to blame are standing in the mirror in the bathroom of the paper. Lies don’t sell forever.


3 posted on 06/11/2012 8:58:53 AM PDT by bmwcyle (Romney - not Obama - not a Conservative - not a real Christian)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Why pay to read 5500 words on Barrys’ love of basketball?


4 posted on 06/11/2012 9:00:20 AM PDT by Huskrrrr ( the will)
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To: DeaconBenjamin
Guys like the writer of this column are destined to be confused by the plight of the print (and increasingly broadcast) news media as long as they waltz around the real reason for their desperate situation - content.

An increasing majority of consumers are sick of the liberal echo chamber. Period.

5 posted on 06/11/2012 9:00:20 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: DeaconBenjamin
Guys like the writer of this column are destined to be confused by the plight of the print (and increasingly broadcast) news media as long as they waltz around the real reason for their desperate situation - content.

An increasing majority of consumers are sick of the liberal echo chamber. Period.

6 posted on 06/11/2012 9:00:31 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Being a left-wing, Commie rag, the Guardian would never print a story that exposes the bias of the Washington Post at the cause of its demise.


7 posted on 06/11/2012 9:03:31 AM PDT by WashingtonSource
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To: DeaconBenjamin

So what is sad about another commie rag going down the tubes?


8 posted on 06/11/2012 9:06:34 AM PDT by ILS21R (John Locke: When the social contract is broken, the people must revolt.)
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To: bmwcyle

Warren Buffet, the greedy multi-billionaire that he is, owns a substantial portion of the Washington comPost, so expect it and the other papers he owns to get a bailout, paid by you, me and his secretary.


9 posted on 06/11/2012 9:09:09 AM PDT by Tea Party Terrorist (they all stink)
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To: skeeter
Advertising, specifically classified ads, were the life blood of newspapers for decades. There was a time when a metro paper had 10 or 15 pages of fine print ads and double that number on Sunday.

Confronted with a decline in sales (read Craigslist) newspapers are trying to monetize the only thing they have left; news coverage. To force payment, the newspapers are turning away from advertising in favor of a limit on the number of “visits” to their web pages. Never mind that this practice limits the exposure of their web ads...

Confused ? Me too.

10 posted on 06/11/2012 9:09:24 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Advice to the Post: concentrate on absorbency; it’s all you have left.


11 posted on 06/11/2012 9:20:43 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Wall Street doesn’t influence the way liberal editors run their newsrooms.

The ever declining base in print and television news is commercial suicide but the die-hard Lefties continue to push PURE propaganda and the public knows it.


12 posted on 06/11/2012 9:24:15 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Washington could not tell a lie, Nixon could not tell the truth, Obama can't tell the difference.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Daily newsprint is a dead medium. It arrives on your doorstep (without milk or a doctor housecall) and it is already 16-48 hours old information.


13 posted on 06/11/2012 9:25:46 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Washington could not tell a lie, Nixon could not tell the truth, Obama can't tell the difference.)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

SAD decline? Hardy har, har.


14 posted on 06/11/2012 9:25:54 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Maybe they could bring in Bain Capital to make it profitable?


15 posted on 06/11/2012 9:32:56 AM PDT by Menehune56 ("Let them hate so long as they fear" Oderint Dum Metuant), Lucius Accius, (170 BC - 86 BC))
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To: LibertarianLiz

The Post and other papers are dying because of technology and nothing else. Even a 100 percent conservative newspaper today would be dying. It has to do with Ipads and other items that give you instant news and the stories that go with it. London is a bit different in that most rid the subway to work so they have the time to read an actual newspaper or some will read the Ipad but they will have newspapers longer than America because of the transportation differences.


16 posted on 06/11/2012 9:35:26 AM PDT by napscoordinator (Tom Hoefling for President 2012!!! Vote your conscience in November. Say NO to the Liberal Romney!)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

If they had done things the “Wall Street” way, they wouldn’t be a dying newspaper or corporation.

The Wall Street way if the “free market” way, which means that, the corporation caters to the wishes of the people who are the target audience, but, when half of the target audience is automatically and intentionally disregarded and alienated, then, the newspaper will, of course, be writing it’s own death certificate.


17 posted on 06/11/2012 9:37:56 AM PDT by adorno
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Years ago I got the Washington Post Weekly,
Then for two weeks running there was about a ten page insert explaining the damned virtues of Saudi Arabia, paid for by said govt.
There are NO virtues in regards Saudi Arabia. I understood then that the post had simply become a whore.


18 posted on 06/11/2012 9:41:32 AM PDT by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) Hey Mitt, F-you too pal)
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To: DeaconBenjamin
FTA:

One is the Wall Street beef – the way the overarching Post company, to which the news division only makes an 11% or so revenue contribution, has paid out $1.1bn in dividends and share buyback schemes over the past four years of the credit crunch. This bigger Post, owner of a profitable education operation, could have used some or all of that money to keep the newspaper fed and watered.

Yeah, the *nerve* of the parent corporation to expect a profit from the noble WaPo. They just don't understand news organizations are supposed to be losers (they're something bad if they make a buck), and they need to be subsidized for "the good of the people."

It can't be that the country is sick of the liberal dreck or anything.

19 posted on 06/11/2012 9:48:58 AM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Look forward to the day when the propaganda post is out of business.


20 posted on 06/11/2012 9:58:41 AM PDT by The Angry American
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To: DeaconBenjamin

The print media will go the way of the buggy whip. 89% of the newspapers’ revenue comes from advertisement. The sale of newspapers brings in very little income. Is it worth even charging for the newspapers?


21 posted on 06/11/2012 10:13:05 AM PDT by kabar
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To: DeaconBenjamin

this article is just a thinly disguised call for government subsidies and regulations to hobble online competition.


22 posted on 06/11/2012 10:15:50 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: skeeter
An increasing majority of consumers are sick of the liberal echo chamber. Period.

I doubt it or Obama wouldn't be president and the Washington Times would have had a lot larger circulation

It is the Internet and short attention span of 2012 Americans who want the 2 minute TV news bite
23 posted on 06/11/2012 11:06:34 AM PDT by uncbob
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To: a fool in paradise

Local news is the only thing it offers.


24 posted on 06/11/2012 11:11:27 AM PDT by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: napscoordinator

Small town and community newspapers are doing OK and some are even growing. The problem with big metro dailies is their big metro base, which has either bailed to the suburbs or doesn’t know how to read.


25 posted on 06/11/2012 11:14:00 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: kabar
The sale of newspapers brings in very little income. Is it worth even charging for the newspapers?

In fact, the Washington Examiner, a very good conservative paper, offers free Thursday and Sunday delivery. The Washington City Paper, a generally lefty weekly but with good, old-school reporting on local politics and crime, has always been free.

26 posted on 06/11/2012 11:19:14 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
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To: DeaconBenjamin
" The most recent cull has reduced the investigation team from seven to four. "

The cost of air fare to Wasilla must have really increased.

27 posted on 06/11/2012 11:30:00 AM PDT by Ranald S. MacKenzie (It's the philosophy, stupid.)
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To: abb

FYI


28 posted on 06/11/2012 1:09:47 PM PDT by ken5050 (FRACK Obama!!!)
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To: 04-Bravo; aimhigh; andyandval; Arizona Carolyn; Bahbah; bert; bilhosty; Caipirabob; carmenbmw; ...

ping


29 posted on 06/11/2012 2:04:38 PM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

By a British newspaper?


30 posted on 06/11/2012 3:38:14 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: skeeter

Agreed, and therein lies the genius of Rodger Ailes. The neglected masses found their voice with FOX a few years ago and it is highly successful.


31 posted on 06/11/2012 3:49:38 PM PDT by billhilly
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To: DeaconBenjamin

“...these battles are being fought out between the quasi-academic likes of the Columbia Journalism Review and Professor Clay Shirky of New York University, the supreme guru of internet ideology. But first catch up with some facts.”

**********************************************************************************

Clay Shirky? What a jerk... check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBFOmUXR080


32 posted on 06/11/2012 4:44:22 PM PDT by GOPJ (Take your little hammer, little sickle and your scary red signs with a fist on it, and go home...)
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To: LibertarianLiz
The outside interests bought long ago in the cause of diversification and protecting the Post now come first. Can this be right? Whatever happened to public service?

Public Service? You gotta be kidding me. The only 'service' the Post offers is help for Democrats and lame crumbs for token Republicans. If a company put out toasters - and half of them caught fire - the company would go under - as it should. Same with the Post.

33 posted on 06/11/2012 4:53:58 PM PDT by GOPJ (Take your little hammer, little sickle and your scary red signs with a fist on it, and go home...)
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To: a fool in paradise

The most ironic part of this is the fact that Wash DC and NoVa are the only two metro areas that are booming due to the massive spending of the fedgov.

I visited there in April, it looks NOTHING like the midwest.

WaPo is dying in the most favorable market, LOL.


34 posted on 06/11/2012 5:31:13 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: nascarnation
WaPo is dying in the most favorable market, LOL.

LOL - good point. If they can't make it there, they can't make it anywhere... could be a song if it had a catchy tune...

35 posted on 06/11/2012 6:00:11 PM PDT by GOPJ (Take your little hammer, little sickle and your scary red signs with a fist on it, and go home...)
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To: DeaconBenjamin
(Holding up my iPad 2)

THAT is the reason why newspapers are dying. Why wait for "stale" news once a day on print when I can get the latest news on my iPad from Facebook, Twitter, the iOS iPad apps for BBC News, CNN, Fox News, and USA Today, many different news websites, and conservative web sites like Townhall.com? (It should be noted I read Free Republic on a real computer, since its interactivity works best that way.)

36 posted on 06/12/2012 5:22:55 AM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: RayChuang88

——Why wait for “stale” news once a day——

Exactly. To survive they need to offer something different AND worthwhile, like astute, insightful analysis.

That is what Glenn Beck offers much of the time, and why GBTV is thriving.


37 posted on 06/12/2012 5:36:57 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Later


38 posted on 06/12/2012 5:50:49 AM PDT by I_be_tc
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To: napscoordinator; All
16 posted on Mon Jun 11 2012 11:35:26 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) by napscoordinator: “The Post and other papers are dying because of technology and nothing else. Even a 100 percent conservative newspaper today would be dying. It has to do with Ipads and other items that give you instant news and the stories that go with it. London is a bit different in that most rid the subway to work so they have the time to read an actual newspaper or some will read the Ipad but they will have newspapers longer than America because of the transportation differences.”

He's right. Look at the financial problems of the Washington Times. Same market, conservative politics, but similar financial problems.

I could say a lot more about the technological challenges, and the problems caused by losing the classified ad market, and the inherent problems of delivering news that is half a day old at best, and that fact that Facebook ads and company websites are an effective means to communicate one’s product in small-town America (though not as much for national branding campaigns which still require aggressive ad sales) but others have said much of what I would have said.

Here's the bottom line. The internet is destroying print newspapers in ways that pose a completely different technological challenge than what has previously been faced by print media.

Radio didn't kill newspapers because even though radio could deliver the news more quickly, it had no visuals, no persistency (i.e., you couldn't read it later like a newspaper), and there are severe limits on the amount of content. Thirty seconds is a HUGE amount of time to dedicate to a single news story. Television didn't kill newspapers, even though it added visuals to the speed of radio delivery, because it still couldn't deliver in-depth news or provide persistency.

The internet allows news to be available 24-7 and archived forever, which is something even print newspapers can't really provide since most people don't store old newspapers, and even then they usually aren't indexed and searchable. The internet allows stories to be as long as a writer and editor thinks are needed; electrons are cheap today in the era of massive bandwidth. Plus there is the visual advantage of television and the immediacy of both TV and radio.

How can print media compete against that? It can't.

The problem is that ad revenue generated by internet ads today isn't even close to what it takes to run a major newspaper. That will probably change with time, but it may never be where things were in the 1950s and 1960s with print ad revenue since it's now possible for an advertiser to contact potential customers through other forms of very cheap internet direct marketing.

39 posted on 06/12/2012 9:35:09 AM PDT by darrellmaurina
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