Print Newspapers vs. Online Thesis

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PRINT NEWSPAPERS VS. ONLINE NEWS

"With media coverage of newspaper company bankruptcy filings, threats to close papers, actual shut downs and continuing job cuts, the public is aware of the industry's financial problems."

USA TODAY printed its first newspaper in 1982 with a mission to serve as a medium to enhance understanding to help unify the United States of America (USA). Currently, it constitutes the number one U.S. newspaper in print circulation. USA TODAY, with "a total average daily print circulation of nearly 1.9 million, and USATODAY.com, an award-winning newspaper Web site which launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.1 million readers daily."

During the first week of November 2009, on the other hand, the century-old Christian Science Monitor, reported plans to discontinue its daily print edition during April 2009 as it moves to almost exclusive online publication. This makes the Christian Science Monitor the first major U.S. newspaper to abandon a daily print format. During this paper, exploring the contemporary struggle by print newspapers to compete with online competitors, the researcher asserts that: Struggles currently confronting print newspapers may not prove to be fatal if the newspapers implement smart distribution practices to provide consumers, particularly the young, with the news they want.

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TOPIC: Thesis on Print Newspapers vs. Online News Assignment

Numerous newspapers struggle to remain economically viable, nevertheless, 43% Americans contend that the loss of their local newspaper would negatively impact civic life in their community "a lot." "Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available," the Pew Research Center reports. As expected, those individuals who retrieve local news regularly from newspapers were likely than those who read them less frequently, to perceive the possible shutdown of a local paper as a critical loss. Approximately 56% of those polled in this study state that if the local print or online newspaper they read most often ceased publication, it would negatively impact the civic life of the community significantly, while 55% report that if the paper were not available any longer, they would personally miss reading the paper a "lot."

In the newspaper article, "Newspapers struggle to avoid their own obit," Randy Dotinga

(2005), Correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor, cites Philip Meyer, Journalism professor at the University of North Carolina, to note that the percentage of adults reporting that they read daily newspapers decreased from 81% in 1964 to 52% in 2004. Meyer argues that should this trend continue, within a few decades, there will not be any print newspaper readers left. Dotinga, albeit, counters this contention; pointing out that: "Still, more than 1,400 daily newspapers continue to set the news agenda for television, radio, and the Internet, both nationally and locally."

In addition, most newspaper websites primarily mirror the printed product, with only a few permitting users to filter out news they may not care to read.

As newspapers' websites only generate approximately 8% their revenue, converting to Web-only operation does not constitute an option for most newspapers, John Morton, an industry analyst, states: "The newspaper economic model is still firmly rooted in print."

Typically, in the print newspaper industry, on the other hand, up to 80% of revenue comes from advertising. These funds provide most of the paper's profits. Generally, subscription fees only cover the print newspaper's cost of printing and distribution.

In "U.S. Newspaper Circulation Falls 10%," Richard Perez-Pena (2009) reports that during the 1990s and into the next decade, newspaper circulation declined, but only less than 1% each year. During 2005, the rate of decline topped 2%. During 2007, the rate dropped 3% and in 2008, 4%.

. Table 1 portrays a number of losses reported by some of the largest print newspapers during 2009.

Table 1: Print Newspaper Losses

San Francisco Chronicle

- 25.8%

Star-Ledger of Newark

-2.2%

Dallas Morning News

-22.2%

New York Post

- 18.8%

Boston Globe

-18.5%

USA Today

-17.1%

Houston Chronicle

-14.2%

Daily News of New

- 14.0%

Arizona Republic

- 12.3%

Oregonian

-12.1%

Elizabeth Bennett (2009), a freelance writer in Houston, Texas, contends in the newspaper article "Losing the news by crumbling newspaper industry creating a revolution for news media," that print newspapers are not simply struggling; they are fighting for their lives

The problems are obvious. Newspapers are losing advertising revenue and readers to the Internet and scrambling to cut expenses, including laying off the most experienced and well-paid staffers.

A number of papers have gone out of business and many others are combining sections, getting smaller and carrying less news. And stories are getting shorter and shorter, influenced by what's happening on the Web, where almost anything over 150 words is considered too long and unlikely to be read.

Online Newspapers

During 2008, in the three months ending March 31, the websites American newspapers operated attracted approximately 66.4 million monthly unique users. During this same time period in 2009, that number increased to more than 73.3 million, according to the study Nielsen Online, a market research firm, commissioned by the Newspaper Association of America,

conducted

. This study also found:

Online newspaper readers generated an average of more than 3.5 billion page views per month in the first quarter this year, an increase of 13% over the same period last year. The number is the highest since the NAA started keeping track of the data in 2004.

As newspapers continue to experience sharp losses in advertisement sales in their print versions, they face the challenge to ensure their online advertising revenues continue to increase and match their growing digital readership. In the United States, however, industry analysts stress that advertisers will not yet pay a premium for high-quality online content that traditional newspapers provide; particularly as the economy experiences a strong recession

Smart Newspaper Practices

The article, "Analyst Speak: Online editions' impact on print newspapers" (2007) recounts findings from a survey of 55,000 respondents on UK's online panel regarding key aspects of UK's national newspaper reading habits and consumption. This study particularly notes the impact online newspapers have on readership behavior. This study reports that online or offline, individuals who read newspapers remain loyal to a brand. Those people who purchase the print edition will prefer to go to that particular title online as well. Lightspeed Research reveals: "With more news formats available to readers, the message to newspapers is clear: editorial policy, columnists and the distinctive features that make up your brand are more vital than ever before"

The online news sites make the greatest impact in the responses from those individuals who do not purchase buy any newspaper at all.

News Consumers Want

The study by the Pew Research Center also reports that 33% of individuals surveyed elided on the print newspaper paper for current community concerns and information. Responses to why the loss of local newspaper would hurt civic life included the following perceptions.

Reasons related by those who assert the loss of paper would hurt a lot:

30% People rely on the paper for local news

18% People read/rely on the paper for news, generally

12% There is only one paper in this community

10% Reading the newspaper is a habit/l enjoy it

Reasons related by those who assert the %loss of paper would hurt only a little or not much at all included:

29% There are other ways to get neon, including TV, radio, internet

20% The quality of the newspaper is poor

10% I don't read the newspaper

9%

I don't think other people read the newspaper

These findings and the following reported in each of the tables in this paper evolved from a weekly survey, from March 2-8, 2009, conducted with The Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage Index, utilizing a nationally representative sample of 1,001 adults

. Table 2 depicts a number of sources where individuals regularly retrieve their local news.

Table 2: Regular Sources of Local News

TV

66%

Newspaper

41%

Radio

34%

Internet

31%

Online Newspapers

13%

Online TV

11%

Net Television (Printionline)

68%

Net Newspaper (Printlonline)

48%

In regard to local news, the majority of individuals report they receive this type news from their local TV stations than any other source. As newspapers continue to struggle to attract younger readers, according to the recent analysis of newspaper readership by Pew Research, only one 27% of Generation Y, those individuals born in 1977 or later, had read a newspaper during the previous day. Of those individuals one prior to 1946, 55% of these had read a newspaper during the previous day.

In the newspaper account, "Hail to the power of print; newspapers - the real story -- Don't believe all you're being told about the death of the press: more people all over the world are reading newspapers…," Gavin K. O'Reilly (2007) perceives the contemporary contention that newspapers are on their way out differently. "Paid circulation grew globally by 1.9 per cent in 2006, with sales of 510.4 million copies a day. The number of paid-for titles is at a record 11,142, up 3.1 per cent on… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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