Saturday, March 5, 2011

Are Newspapers Folding?

It’s been a morning staple for the past billion years, it seems. From growing up with the “thump” on the door as the “paper boy” left the morning edition to my years as columnist for the Southeast Charlotte News, I, like so many of you, have relied on the print newspaper for national and local news, comics, obits (generally
in that order) and more.

Ahhh, but it looks like its days are numbered. With ever-increasing
printing/distribution costs, declining print advertising revenue and the public turning more and more to the instant visual gratification of the internet, fewer people are actually turning the physical pages and reading our “hand-held” newspapers these days.

Now, the Audit Bureau of Circulations says that circulation for 507 daily American newspapers fell to a little over 38 million copies (a 4.64 percent decrease) in a six-month period recently— and that’s down from 40.02 million the year before.

Only Gannett Co.’s USA Today and Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal actually increased their readership, gaining a whopping 0.01 percent in the same time-frame.
With The Tribune Co., owner of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, having gone bankrupt and the economic vultures circling around other publications, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart got into the act with a new punchline to an old joke.
Question: “What’s black and white and completely over?” Answer: “Newspapers!”

Now, with so many people clamouring for a return to the easy-going days of yesteryear, maybe this trend will reverse. I mean, who doesn't remember going out to pick up that cozy Sunday edition of our local newspaper -- one that … well, it just wouldn’t feel like Sunday without the full-color comics, large “classified” section and the sales inserts that this giant edition brings! And, of course, when all's read, said and done, you could always use it for insulation, one of Junior's school projects -- or instant training pads for a chihuahua ...

Let’s see the Internet provide that, huh??

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