Who Needs Newspapers Anymore?


Spotted this on my (new) commute in to work. Walking by, I was struck by how empty it looked… so many slots empty. In the age of Twitter and RSS feeds, physical papers feel like another era sometimes.

At first, on seeing this… it made me feel like people no longer really read newspapers. But another thought occurred to me: these might all be empty because people are still actively reading newspapers.

And moments after I took this photo, a woman walked up and grabbed a copy of the RedEye, as though she was intent on proving me wrong.

From here on out, I’m going to keep a close eye on this. I’ll be curious to see if it’s always this empty, or if people are still actively grabbing papers to/from work.

// Edit: Just spotted this on BB, and thought it pretty appropriate. Basement was once used to print newspapers, now is a fiber-optic interchange.

Related:
Why Newspapers Are Ultimately Going to Lose

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Actually, newspaper circulation is up 23% at the Indianapolis Star. That’s not to say that anyone is actually reading the print product, we’re offering a hybrid (full-access to online and print news) subscription to our customers for the same price as the “digital only” subscription. So basically, we’re seeing more readers of the online companion site choosing to get the print edition as well. I don’t if they feel like they are getting a deal that way or they are just randomly interested in getting the physical paper now…but either way, the paywall has sorta forced people to place more value on the content were previously getting for free.

    That being said, this is good way retain the traditional subscribers and gear them up for the transition to digital platforms. The only problem with trying to ease people into this way of thinking is the fact that many news sites still give their stories away, and people have become comfortable not paying for information. This is going to bite them in the ass when they take a loss for not monetizing on the online goodies.As a result, those companies will have to offset the loss by laying off their resources, their NEEDED resources like journal. Butterfly effect, the product will suffer.

    This is already happening to some in the newspaper industry. I dug up an interesting trailer documenting this: http://bit.ly/11M1gYl . I haven’t seen this documentary, but it sent chills down my spine. That being said, I’m very pleased to be part of a company (Gannett), that is fully committed to making leap to online/mobile, as seamless as possible.

    As long as there’s news, there’s going to be media companies providing newspaper, but you can probably just say newspixels in the next couple of years. :)

    mobiusbox Reply


    • Geebus, I swear I’m not drunk, but my previous post was almost unreadable. Haha. But yes, my point is that newspapers will be in some form or another for years to come.

      mobiusbox Reply


    • I had forgotten you were working at the Indianapolis Star – my hometown paper! It’s interesting that you’ve got such a front-row seat, to see how they’re making the transition over to a paper/digital hybrid.

      I haven’t done a ton of reading on paywalls, but my overall sense is that they don’t seem to fare so well. But I could be totally wrong on this. Just dug up a Clay Shirky article that I’ve bookmarked for later reading.

      I guess I view newspapers the same as radio – a giant, older technology looking for its way amidst a sea of desktops and mobile devices. I think there’s always going to be a need for news, and always a need for journalists to write articles… but it seems so hard to imagine what form that will ultimately take.

      I’m glad you’re able to provide some insight, straight from the source. I’m definitely interested to hear how the Indianapolis Star fares in its transition, moving forward!

      avoision Reply


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