Return of the Press Barons

Journalism has changed in the last few decades because the ownership of most daily newspapers has moved from local, private hands to publicly traded corporations, which have demanded higher profit margins. The main result has been a reduction of reporting staff and a greater need to avoid offending advertisers and connected corporations. Consumers have been switching to the internet for their news, which has cut advertising revenues. Newspaper owners have further reduced spending at their papers in response.

Yesteray’s Boston Globe cites an interesting development: local investors are trying to purchase the daily papers in their cities from the corporations that now own them. This is something that’s been happening in a number of cities just in recent weeks.

One comment on “Return of the Press Barons

  1. Thanks for the link. The weird thing is that newspapers are hugely profitable; they just aren’t growing, so private entrepreneurs see them as worth having (they make money) even though they’re worthless as stocks. I know in Baltimore after the Knight-Ridder meltdown, reporters were delighted to have a local angel. Local angel has just announced big layoffs.

    Much as I personally love getting ink on my fingers, newspapers have to adjust to the online world, which means finding their advertising revenue online and inventing new ways to fund and present what they do. A lot of the news we get on the Internet is from traditional sources like the Boston Globe. The news industry has to get over being annoyed that search engines can aggreate their stuff (a Belgian news organization sued Google News; Google no longer links to their stories; did this help the news organization?) and find ways to thrive in a highly changed world.

    There’s an interesting speculative piece on the future of news that I’ve found interesting for discussion in class. The question posed at the end of the 8-minute piece is the big one. And I’m not sure of the answer. But the State of the News Media 2006 suggests print media is beginning to understand the question, at least.

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