With the current atmosphere among Western newspapers being apocalyptic at worst and only carefully optimistic at best, it is easy to forget that things aren't quite as bad everywhere. Quite the contrary: newspapers in India and Latin America seem to be doing remarkably well.
The Globe and Mail reported on Indian newspapers, which are currently seeing an extraordinary rise in readership numbers. For example, NaiDunia (Hindi for "new world") has increased its circulation from 500,000 to 800,000 copies a day - in two years.
Meanwhile, newspaper circulation is also growing sharply in some Latin American countries, most notably Brazil (29 percent), MediaShift reported, noting the palpable sense of dynamism in the industry, mentioning the effective newsroom of El Tiempo, Colombia's leading daily, in particular.
One reason for the growth lies in the economy. Although Western newspapers were gravely affected by the 2008 economic downturn, the effect on Latin American nations in general was much lower. India has seen a steady economic growth for some time now, and one of its consequences has been a rise in literacy. Its adult literacy level is 74 percent, up 9 percent from a decade ago.
In India, the newspaper still has value as a status symbol, making it appealing for people who can afford and read one. "As soon as a person becomes literate, what they get is a newspaper - even before they buy a phone, it's the first luxury a man affords," said A.S. Raghunath, a veteran editor.
The emergence of the Internet has been the single event that has probably had the biggest effect on Western newspapers in the last decade or so. Not so in India or Latin America. Only seven percent of Indians are regular Internet users, as computers, cable connections and electricity are still outside the reach of many, despite the economic surge.
Also in Latin America digital is arriving more slowly than it did in the West, allowing news organisations to learn from mistakes made in other markets. Moreover, they are able to claim bigger shares of online advertising space before search engines and aggregators take over.
MediaShift also commented on the rise in quality in Latin American journalism, as several newspapers have expanded their foreign coverage and investigative journalism.