Local U.S. newspapers struggle for life

Local U.S. newspapers struggle for life

Since 2004, the U.S. has lost over 2,000 non-daily local papers as they struggle to adapt.

Newspapers suffer from myriad problems that go largely unnoticed by the general public.

But perhaps the most dangerous inconvenience newsroom have faced is the struggle to adapt to the digital age.

Inside the U.S. ©Statista

Between 2000 and 2015, print newspaper advertising revenue fell from about $60 billion to about $20 billion, wiping out the gains of the previous 50 years.

For non-daily newspapers, the blow has been even worse, as the U.S. has lost over 2,000 non-daily local papers since 2004, leaving counties and region without a local newspaper, creating a large information dessert for many residents across the country.

According to the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the University of North Carolina, the south has the most counties without any newspapers, as there are 91 counties without a local newspaper in the region.

There is a stark contrast to the Mid-Atlantic region and New England, which both have a total of only three counties that do not have a newspaper.

The big players

Local papers have it harder, no doubt, but where are the big players standing?

When The New York Times (NYT) announced its transition to digital, it was given a lot of dirt, industry experts said it was a bold move from the information giant, as they questioned if people would really be willing to spend money on digital content that they were used to getting for free.

Seven and a half years after the introduction of its metered paywall, the NYT has more than 2.5 million digital news subscribers accounting for 36% of the company’s subscription revenues in the first nine months of 2018.

Interestingly, the NYT saw a significant uptick in digital subscriptions after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. Despite his harsh and repeated criticism toward the country’s leading newspaper, the Times gained roughly a million digital subscriptions under his presidency and is still growing.

“We believe that our success with subscriptions across digital and print is a tribute to the quality and creativity of the journalism produced by our colleagues in The New York Times newsroom and editorial departments”, said CEO Mark Thompson said during the Times Company’s earnings call in early November.


About the Author:

Pablo Hernandez
Community Manager and Senior Reporter for CEO Magazine. Write to Pablo at pablo.hernandez@ceo-latam.com
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