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Selling Newspapers

I found out that I have something in common with President Obama.  We both sold newspapers, briefly and unsuccessfully, while going to college: he, the New York Times while attending Columbia;  and I, the Chicago Tribune, while attending The University of Wisconsin.  I'm not sure when Obama was going to school, but I know my brief experience selling the Tribune was about forty years ago, and the Tribune was a completely different newspaper back then; less color and more words. 

The newspaper business has entered 'Hard Times', as Dickens would have put it.  This has happened for many different reasons, some of which are due to economic changes, others due to technical changes.  Perhaps both are intertwined.  For more than two decades the rise of cable news, its' twenty-four hour cycle and the resulting ravenous demand for news stories has eroded the immediacy of newspapers.  The world is different than the one where we looked forward to the morning paper. 

More recently the explosion of news sources on the internet and the geometric growth in its use and availability on cell phones as well as computers has further changed the media landscape, affecting television news as well as newspapers.  Now comes news of the demise of major newspapers from one coast of the United States to the other coast, with no signs that it will end soon.  The economic model for the modern media enterprise has  been unalterably changed due to these factors and others.  Competition in the marketplace will out, the consumers will reign, and the business of selling newspapers will forever be changed.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
I can't figure out where the news business is going. I can't quite imagine a total failure of professional reporting.
May. 10th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
I cannot figure it either, but change is happening even as we click away. I'm not holding my breath.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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