Axios has an alarming summary of comments made by Nicco Mele, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, to the Wall Street Journal. Half of existing newspapers could be gone, soon.
The trends are familiar to those who work in the industry: Newspapers have failed to transition print subscribers to paying digital readers, while Facebook and Google continue to draw ad sales that once went to local media. Here are other highlights from the Axios summary:
- “Nearly 1,800 newspapers closed between 2004 and 2018, leaving 200 counties with no newspaper and roughly half the counties in the country with only one, according to a University of North Carolina study” reported by the Journal.
- Mid-sized papers with circulations between 100,000 and 200,000 have been hurt the most as a result of their inability to weather high publishing costs as print ads have disappeared, per the WSJ’s analysis. Online ads are a fraction of the price of print ads.
- Consolidation has become the answer for some mid-sized and smaller papers. Gannett Co. now has the largest newspaper chain by circulation — 6.9 million.