Uttercast: Whither Print Newspapers?


The discussion about the future of newspapers isn’t inside baseball anymore; it’s kitchen table discussion. As we all wonder what will happen to the dailies, and talk about the Detroit Free Press going to three-day delivery only and the Christian Science Monitor (a client) funneling print to a weekly, I think about how my habits have changed.

– Daily news is now online, and from lots of sources (including Twitter)

– I still buy the Sunday papers. I firmly believe print will remain in some form, and people who say things like print will disappear completely in five years are BS artists in love with the sound of their own voices.

How have your news consumption habits changed, and how does that affect your thinking about the future of the news?

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  1. Doug,
    Couldn’t agree with the premise more. I haven’t bought a newspaper for at least 2 years now. All of my news is setup as a widget on my cellphone and grabbed directly from MyYahoo portal. I really see things trending to sources where content is king – mainly blogs and forums. Not only better for the reader (less fluff), but better for environment (less paper) and better for the advertiser (more targeted)


  2. OK, now the newspaper industry has to figure out how they will come out on the other end of this. what’s the new business model- micropayments? Premium subscriber prices? Charge for online?

    Also, I firmly believe there will still be some print for a long time to come.

  3. I had lunch today with a friend in the radio industry (marketing director for 5 stations). Radio is concerned about loss of revenue – even selling spots for 75% off right now (reminds me of a going out of business sale). They want to drive traffic to their website to make advertisers happy… tough boat to be in right now… Actually – any marketing is tough without being able to present a valid case for spending money…

    I think you may see newspapers starting to go along the route of content-based sites like ESPN for sports or CNN for news. Ads are still their, but they cater to the reader…

  4. I haven’t subscribed to a daily print newspaper for years – simply don’t have time to read them. I enjoy reading printed materials because they can and often do provide in-depth coverage this is often lacking online.

    I worked in the Ad servies department of Columbus Dispatch office in Columbus Ohio in my teens about 1968 / 69 and have a nostalgic fondest for the medium – back in the day when everything was still hot and cold type, just before computerized page make-up.

    There is a seminal journalistic quality for newspapers that often seems missing in other media. But, times change and like all things so must we.

    Perhaps adapting to changing reading habits will mean producing paperless WiFi editions AKA the Kindle.

    I for one would hate to see newspapers fold (no pun intended) entirely for what ever reason. I hope they can each find a way to recapture readership and continue to offer us news and features that has that familiar look and feel, journalistic and editorial excellence we’ve come to take, perhaps, too much for granted.

  5. Hi Doug, interesting post. I honestly enjoy reading print, too. I even savor it. I’m sure that coopers really enjoyed making wooden barrels back before metal and plastic containers were invented. But over time, changing technology always changes human behavior.

    The fact that the New York Times Co. now has a market cap of $580 million – less than half of what the Times paid for The Boston Globe in the early 90’s – says that all bets are off when making predictions about the newspaper industry 5 years out. Especially when you take into account that a year ago NYT was trading at $20 a share and is now less than $3.70. The market is not showing much faith at all in the print business model.

    Many, many dailies will no doubt fold entirely over the next 5 years and in many of those cases, there will be no print paper in those communities. The ones still standing will most likely cut delivery from 7 days to 4, 3, or 2.

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