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October 23, 2007 / Toby Dayton

Don’t Count Newspapers Out Yet Says Richard Siklos

The debate over the future of the daily newspaper industry (whether the industry’s eventual demise will occur rapidly or more gradually) remains one of the most fascinating discussions within a wildly turbulent media landscape. There are plenty of solid arguments on both sides, and I myself have gone back and forth on the issue (contradicting myself with posts like this and this). As plenty of people have pointed out over the past year or so (here), the decline of the daily newspaper industry in this country will be a long and slow process. While it will feel sudden and dramatic in some markets, especially the first major metro to lose its daily altogether, some dailies are doing terrific things to adapt to a dramatically changing landscape (NYT, Washington Post, Scripps, and Washington Post). The fact remains that, despite the meteoric rise of the web as a media platform, print media remains the most dominant advertising vehicle in the country, and is still an extremely popular vehicle for media consumption. Equally as critical a factor, the web is just not yet ready (outside of the usual suspects – the major, major players online) to easily facilitate tens of billions of dollars in advertising transactions.

In his recent article entitled ‘Newspapers Down But Definitely Not Out,’ Richard Siklos makes a compelling argument that the industry is a long, long way from its deathbed. As is the case with most good debates about complex issues among educated, highly informed participants, there is truth to both sides of the argument. The industry is clearly in decline and the tectonic shifts will occasionally be jarring, while other times appearing more dramatic than they actually are. But despite the obvious incompetence of many players in the space, the sheer size of the industry should buffer, to some extent, daily newspapers as a whole. So, too, will the industry be helped by some unique attributes inherent to the industry, occasional examples of stunning innovation actually taking place within it, and the entrenched behavior of multiple groups of stakeholders surrounding it. Newspapers, at least some of them, will be around for a long, long time. The real question is which ones.

[tags]Don’t Count Newspapers Out Yet, The Decline of the Dailies, The Death of Print, Online Advertising, Not Yet Ready For Primetime, Newspapers, Daily Newspapers[/tags]