A publication of the World Editors Forum


Wed - 24.01.2018

Newspaper Project bites back for hard-hit newspapers

Newspaper Project bites back for hard-hit newspapers

A group of newspaper executives have heard enough talk about the apparent imminent demise of the printed press, and have launched www.newspaperproject.org to let the world know that it's really not that bad. The aim is to dispel the popular belief that newspapers are in crisis and no longer needed, and to fight back against their misrepresentation in the press itself.

Editor & Publisher's William Ketter is a most definite advocate of the campaign, which begins advertising today, both in print and online. He explains that nearly all media reports portray the printed press struggling to stay afloat in an online age, but states that "this wrongheaded perception stems from the economic recession that's affected all advertising-based businesses, and from the myth that newspapers no longer attract the public support they once enjoyed. But the biggest contributing factor to the distorted picture of the industry's condition just might be us"
The people behind the site include Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.'s publisher Donna Barrett, Brian Tierney, publisher and CEO of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News; Randy Siegel, president and publisher of Parade Publications, and Jay Smith, former president of Cox Newspapers.

Barrett says that the group's message is simple; that newspaper readership is in fact growing when you take into account combined print and online audience, that newspapers have the public trust in terms of truth and accuracy, that advertisers still invest in newspapers because of their guaranteed results and that as watchdogs against crime and corruption newspapers form an essential part of the democratic system.

However, there are some fatal flaws in this argument. Combining print and online readership undoubtedly shows an increase, but this does nothing to counter the most common argument that it is print which is suffering at the expense of its online rival. Moreover, whilst advertisers are still continuing to invest there is no denying the fact that there has been a steep drop in advertising revenue this year, as Reuters' Robert MacMillan points out.

Whatever the future holds for newspapers, and whether the Newspaper Project stems from a genuine belief in their continued existence or is simply a PR attempt to boost flagging circulation, there is no doubt that it is battling against a tide of opinion going in the opposite direction.

Sources: Editor & Publisher, Reuters



Helena Deards


2009-02-02 12:33

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