Wednesday, 1 June 2011

'Local papers aren't dying, they're just changing'

Patrick Smith, editor of TheMediaBriefing, has written a post about the local press in which he says he's considering banning the phrase “newspapers are dying” from his site.

He writes: "For the avoidance of doubt, let’s get this out of the way: newspapers are not dead or dying. It's often said by newspaper executives that 'doom-mongering' commentariat have got it all wrong by predicting the death of dead tree publishing, and these complainants have a point.

"I'm even considering putting the phrase 'newspapers are dying' on a banned list for TheMediaBriefing, such is that phrase’s inability to describe what is really going on in the news industry."

Patrick embraces much of the production changes within the regional press, such as reporters subbing their own copy and the introduction of new content management systems, claiming: "Flexibility is crucial, both editorially and commercially."

He argues the key to the future of regional newspapers is if they can get the transition to online and mobile consumption right and successfully change their revenue models.

"So not dying, but changing. That sounds about right. But will they get the transition to online and mobile consumption right? With an ageing audience and the pace of change in reader habits, the unbundling question is one that really needs answering by industry leaders."

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