Why newspapers don’t innovate

Newspapers have come under a lot of criticism for not being innovative enough in transitioning from dead-tree to digital and social media. A new survey of editors by the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) group may help explain why newsrooms find it challenging. Asked what stood in the way of change, 67.7 per cent of respondents said they didn’t have the staff and 57.5 per cent said they didn’t have money (multiple answers allowed). Which is not to say their newsrooms haven’t changed at all in the past 16 months: 

  • 64.9 per cent laid off staff
  • 80.5 per cent eliminated open positions
  • 30.1 per cent reduced people’s hours
  • 43.1 per cent put staff on furloughs
  • 29.5 per cent cut wages
  • 40.7 per cent eliminated sections
  • 52.5 per cent merged sections
  • 7.1 per cent stopped publishing some days of the week.

Almost three-quarters of the editors surveyed said their ability to fulfill their basic function of informing readers was diminished. The detailed survey results make for sad reading.