Newspapers facing huge layoffs - blame Internet

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The summer of 2006 has brought a rash of notices of job buyouts and layoffs at U.S. newspapers, and experts say more nips and tucks will come as advertising dollars dry up and more readers cancel their subscriptions.

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The newspaper industry is girding for fundamental changes as new media, particularly the Internet, attract more readers and advertisers with the promise of free and fast news.

What I don't understand is this process has been moving along since the mid 1990's .. and just now the newspapers are realizing that everyone is reading their news online, and mostly at news sites such as news.google.com , drudgereport (or huffingtonpost) depending on your political views or nich forums.

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Leadership

I used to do a lot of contract work in the newspaper industry. The newspaper leadership tended to be old and held deeply rooted beliefs supported by 200 years of newspaper history. A partner of mine was in a meeting with the president of a large Chicago newspaper and this president was positive that his readers were not interested in reading online. Why? Because he felt he was an average newspaper reader and since he didn't like to read the online version - neither did anyone else. I guess he thinks his average reader is 65, white, male and most importantly has a net worth above the $100 million.

They also ran their online versions in such a slipshod manner that the online version of a large city newspaper was losing tens of millions of dollars each year - and it was the typical POS newspaper site that many TW members could have ran out of their garage.

Competition

A few years ago the local paper wanted $70 for me to list for three days my 61 oldsmobile for sale for a price of $2000. When I balked at the price, I was told (condescendingly) that I should consider that $70 was cheap to sell a $2000 item.

Now that craigslist has come to town, that same newspaper listing is $13 and it's for two weeks, not 3 days.

Yay internet!

It's been said since the

It's been said since the 90's that old media "doesn't get it" -- which sounded awfully condescending. Yet, here we are today.

I'm surprised newspapers

I'm surprised newspapers have managed to last this long. I really can't imagine too many people would choose a newspaper over reading their news online unless they don't have internet access or just plain are afraid of it.

Two reasons...

I really can't imagine too many people would choose a newspaper over reading their news online

I keep a subscription to the local paper, and read it, because their web site is crap. :-)

Second reason: We've got both our kids (ages 8 and 4) reading the newspaper every morning. My 8-year-old reads the sports and the business sections. My 4-year-old likes to look at the weather maps. It's a nice educational tool.

(removed)

(removed - TW hiccupped when I posted)

Newspapers are dinosaurs

You are trying to compare apples to oranges...

By the time the newspaper get's delivered to my front door... I already read the headlines yesterday online..

I will admit... I am a bit old fashioned and still get the paper at home.... but the only reason is because my wife is the type to sit and drink coffee in the AM.

She keeps going 'honey did you see this' ... I am always like 'yea that story is 3 days old'.

>story is 3 days old we did

>story is 3 days old

we did that for about a year, then my wife finally migrated to online news too. we get a paper at the real estate office for an internal clipping service and to monitor ads. we have an outstanding contract for x column inches to burn off, which came as part of a deal for the free real estate handout. if it weren't for the handout, which people still seem to read, we'd drop newspaper advertising entirely. As is, we've already trimmed $20k off the newspaper ad budget.

If I had to ride a train/

If I had to ride a train/ bus to work every morning, I might keep a subscription just to have something to do. For articles, online is ok for me.

However, if I have a choice between a traditional book and an online book, I'll read the traditional book: reading *that much* online hurts my eyes. In fact, if it is longer than three pages, I print it off.

reduced readership or loss of classifieds?

The article talks about loss of readership, but I wonder how much loss of classifieds is hurting them.

I think newspapers will retain a certain number of readers until display technology improves radically. I think craigslist is a better experience than print. Newspapers are toast when it comes to classifieds.

Time

The problem is time.

Newspapers deliver yesterday's news.. by the time the newspapers get the article, get it into the template, run the presses.. and deliver it to your house the article is 24=48 hours old.

This is the root of the problem... it's not the classified ads.. see the readership is down because of the news delay problem... since the readership is down.. less people are reading the classifieds... The newspapers have to fund this massive operation.. so they raise their rates for less ROI for advertisers in circulation.

It's a circle that has no upwards swing.

I was reading today's paper.. a bunch of AP news stories that were published yesterday online... It took me about 30 seconds to scan the local paper... see a bunch of headlines that I saw yesterday.. and closed the paper....

You can't be successful publishing yesterday's news... period.

Readership here is down 50%

Readership here is down 50% during the week and 35% for the weekend. As the biggest advertiser not in the car industry, we saw our rates jacked up for our contract renewal. They didnt like our response.

>classifieds >real

>classifieds
>real estate
>car industry

Add groceries and you have the four legs that hold up the local newspaper. Classifieds are still holding on in smaller (non-craig) markets though the willingness to pay what amounts to $200 per lead is fast disapearing. Real estate has pretty much left or is in the final stages of packing up to leave. Cars are transitioning out overall, but the dealers are still trying to bridge. I don't know about grocery ads.

Car dealers

The used car ads in the local rag are basically useless. Almost all are from car dealers, no prices all that garbage you get from a used car dealer. Nothing much anymore from individuals selling their cars.

It would appear that they're transitioning to irrelevancy before they whither away.

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