From the editor: Newspaper future is bright despite the bad press it gets
People often ask me about my thoughts on the future of newspapers. I can't blame people for asking the question. Much has been said and written in recent years about the demise of newspapers - especially the big ones. Falling circulation.
People often ask me about my thoughts on the future of newspapers.
I can't blame people for asking the question. Much has been said and written in recent years about the demise of newspapers - especially the big ones.
Faithful newspaper readers dying by the day.
Young people not interested.
Newsroom layoffs leading to less coverage, fewer satisfied readers and more layoffs - a self-perpetuating cycle.
Unfortunately, many in my profession have failed to uphold their journalistic principle to share the other side of the story.
That story goes like this:
More people are reading newspaper content than ever.
Many newspapers are still making lots of money, even if not the kind of fat margins they made 50 years ago.
Privately owned newspapers - such as The Forum - are still heavily invested in their communities and give back a great deal.
Some newspapers are adding employees.
Most journalists are better able to inform their communities quickly by using new technologies.
Yes, people are coming to newspaper content in different ways but, when people want local news and advertising that most affects their lives and decisions, they still look to newspaper staffs to produce it.
Newspapers, by design, are best equipped to gather lots of information. When compared to other mediums - whether it be TV, radio or the Web - newspapers have much larger staffs, and those staffs dig much deeper to share more complete information.
In fact, much of what's reported in other mediums first stems from newspaper reporting.
But there is no doubt the newspaper industry is changing faster today than ever before - just like the rest of the world.
It must adapt or die.
Still, it's faced threats before.
Some people predicted the advent of radio would kill newspapers. Others said it would be TV.
Today, the threat would seem to come from the Internet, but something fantastic is happening.
Most newspapers have embraced the Web, actually harnessing its power to tell stories in different and more complete ways.
Written words and still photos can now be accompanied by audio, video, slide shows, interactive chats, background data and original documents used to report the story.
Newspaper Web sites can bring all mediums together to tell a story like never before, which should concern radio and TV a great deal.
In most markets, the newspaper's Web site is the No. 1 source of online information.
Which explains why - between the printed newspaper and its related Web site - more people are reading newspaper content than ever.
Which brings me back to the beginning:
My take on the future of newspapers?
In a word: Bright.
As a concept - the go-to place for local news and advertising - the newspaper will continue to thrive and prosper.
Yes, with generational changes and technological advances, fewer people tomorrow will read the printed newspaper than today, though many will still appreciate how the printed version respects their time and place.
Others will go to the newspaper online, or it will come to them, just as it always has.
Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. Reach him at (701) 241-5579.