‘The last issue of the New York Times’ was published by Italian daily La Stampa deputy editor Vittorio Sabadin on January 19. Two weeks later the book was sold out.
Sabadin retraces the history of the challenges that newspapers have faced in the last 30 years, and their responses. The author provides the reader with working solutions and with the reasons for their success. He comes to a conclusion that is rather surprising when worded by a journalist: “It is not a tragedy if the printed newspaper dies; what needs to be saved and will last is good journalism”.
Editorsweblog brings you Sabadin’s most relevant insights.
The supplement as a reaction to declining sales was initially an Italian and Spanish idea. When newspapers started to offer DVDs and books, Gianni Agnelli, then publisher of La Stampa, commented, “This is not a solution. It reminds me of the people that stay on their toes in order to better see a show. This way they fake they are taller, but they will not be able to last long”. In the words of Sabadin, “the strategy of supplements transformed the kiosks into bazaars” and distorted the sales figures. Worse, the initial good results provided newspapers with an alibi for not changing. Now the presence of a supplement does not have the positive effects on sales that it once did, and the time has come to “change or die”, as Rupert Murdoch says.