The sky is falling

“Clearly, the sky is falling. The question now is how many people will be left to cover it.”

New York Times reporter David Carr writes about the struggles between old media and new in an Oct. 28 article called “Mourning Old Media’s Decline.”

The Christian Science Monitor, Time Inc., the Tribune Co. and other U.S. companies are all making drastic cuts to newsroom staffs and here in Canada the news is much the same.

Carr writes:

“Stop and think about where you are reading this column. If you are
one of the million or so people who are reading it in a newspaper that
landed on your doorstop or that you picked up at the corner, you are in
the minority. This same information is available to many more millions
on this paper’s Web site, in RSS feeds, on hand-held devices, linked
and summarized all over the Web. Historically, people took an
interest in the daily paper about the time they bought a home. Now they
are checking their BlackBerrys for alerts about mortgage rates.

For readers, the drastic diminishment of print raises an obvious
question: if more people are reading newspapers and magazines, why
should we care whether they are printed on paper?

The answer is that paper is not just how news is delivered; it is how it is paid for.

than 90 percent of the newspaper industry’s revenue still derives from
the print product, a legacy technology that attracts fewer consumers
and advertisers every single day. A single newspaper ad might cost many
thousands of dollars while an online ad might only bring in $20 for
each 1,000 customers who see it.”