More bad news

The bad news for the newspaper industry just keeps coming:

A recent article in Advertising Age points to one big reason for these layoffs:

Newspaper ad revenue fell almost $2 billion in the third quarter for a record 18.1% decline, according to new statistics from the Newspaper Association of America. What’s worse, newspapers’ online ad revenue fell for the second quarter in a row.

The historic drop resulted from a worsening economy that sharply exacerbated long-term challenges already confronting the newspaper industry, and it affected all kinds of newspaper ads. National ad sales fell 18.4%, classifieds sank 30.9%, and the biggest category, retail, slid 11.7%. Newspapers’ online ad sales, where everyone is hoping some part of the future business model resides, accelerated their decline with a 3% drop. Online ad sales slipped 2.4% in the second quarter.

This fall’s financial collapse affected only some part of the latest results. However, the rest of the year is likely to look even worse.

The bad news for newspapers has been accompanied by bad news for broadcasters as well. A recent New York Times article, A Generation of Local TV Anchors Is Signing Off, noted:

Across the country, longtime local TV anchors are a dying breed. Facing an economic slump and a severe advertising downturn, many stations have cut costs drastically in the last year, and veteran anchors, with their expensive contracts, seem to be shouldering a disproportionate share of the cutbacks. When station managers are forced to make cuts, hefty anchor salaries are a tempting target.

A drop in advertising revenues is also behind these cuts. The NYT article also notes:

Advertising is falling sharply, partly because of cutbacks in spending by automakers and car dealerships, which represent the single largest category of advertiser for broadcasters.

Of course, someone has to replace those veteran news anchors who are being laid off. As second-tier anchors move up the chain and leave open slots behind them, this may create some openings for more recent grads.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Advertisements

First, the bad news

As newspaper layoffs continue, and as some newspapers shut down or convert to web-only publication (like the Christian Science Monitor), lots of folks are scrambling to figure out a new business model for the news biz.

papercuts

For example, the American Press Institute recently held a summit on saving the newspaper industry. They reached no conclusions, but decided to get back together again in six months.

Others are questioning whether newspapers even have six months, and some are saying it’s time for a “Manhattan project” for the newspaper industry.

In the meantime, some newspapers are exploring content sharing. Some journalists are forming non-profit news organizations to do investigative reporting in their communities, like voiceofsandiego.com.

The upshot is this: If you’re hoping for a career as a journalist, you need to start thinking outside the box.

In a recent post on the PBS MediaShift blog, media consultant Amy Gahran offers some suggestions on that out-of-the-box thinking in Swimming Lessons for Journalists. She writes:

So where will today’s journos find tomorrow’s jobs? Here’s my take: Not in news organizations. At least, not in news orgs as we’ve grown accustomed to them over the last century. That ship is quite obviously sinking. While traditional news orgs probably won’t disappear entirely as a species, they’re getting rarer and smaller by the minute. They’re a lousy career bet — especially for established professionals with higher salary requirements and increasingly commoditized skills.

In my opinion, journalists need to start leaping en masse from the sinking ship of the newsroom and start working for search engines, nonprofits, think tanks, collaboratives, and other kinds of businesses and organizations. In fact, it might even be a good idea to trade in the label “journalist” for the more inclusive “person with journalism skills”

You can find additional articles, blog posts and commentary on the future of journalism and the news media on my Diigo online bookmarking site at http://www.diigo.com/list/cynmccune/journalism. I’d call this bedtime reading for aspiring journalists…except it’s more likely to keep you awake at night.

It’s not all bad news, though. Journalist and media consultant Steve Yelvington recently suggested that “maybe these are the best days for journalism.”