Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Vanishing Newspapers

While the rest of the blog world talks about why more women and minorities aren't blogging (Because they don't feel like it? Because they've got better things to do with their time?), the talk this week in newspaper circles has been about readership, or the lack thereof.

Here's an interview on PJNet with Philip Meyer, one of my former professors at UNC. I haven't read the book yet, but this short Q&A gives a pretty clean overview (Be sure to note the cocky/defensive "defender of the REAL AMERICANS" troll at the top of the comments section).

Here's The New York Times writing about the newspaper angst over offering our product "for free" online. This is the current circulation department lament across the country, by the way: "Circulation is down because people can get the news for free online! It's our website's fault!"

Here's an American Journalism Review piece that explores a new study on why people read newspapers in the first place. (by the way, its four-corner conclusion sounds like every other conclusion on every other readership study I've ever seen. Fight back by "providing excellent customer service; improving editorial and advertising content; building recognition and loyalty through stronger brand promotion; reforming management and culture." Jesus. You mean people get paid for writing this crap?)

There's more stuff out there, particularly the new State of the Media Report 2005, an enormous slog that actually looks at online news. I haven't even finished the 34-page executive summary.

But the piece that I like the best so far this week is Jay Rosen's "A Western Civ Course in What's Gone Wrong With the Press", another development of his "decertifying the press" idea.

We all need to be concerned about the dynamic market for information, but those of us with an interest in the public-service value of an active press must confront Rosen's ideas.