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Building the case

April 18, 2009

I was going through my research and realized to really make my case for the importance of social networking, one aspect of this issue I would need to fully explore the changing landscape for newspapers and media in general. The newspaper industry is in a period of sharp decline right now and several papers in the United States getting ready to file for bankruptcy (reference my posting about 10 papers lost in the digital age in the research section for some more details). Here in Chicago the Tribune is in serious trouble and it has been recently announced the the Sun Times has also filed for bankruptcy protection.

The problem for the newspaper industry is it is built on a unsustainable model for the digital age. More and more consumers are getting their news from on-line and non-traditional sources, and papers have not been able to create a fiscal model that works now that distribution and advertising revenue is down. According to the Newspaper Association of America, circulation numbers have been in decline since 1990 and so has advertising revenue. While there is an increase in revenue from online versions of their papers, it cannot fill the gap from lost circulation and ad sales.

Print versions of newspapers are disappearing. I do not believe that arts organizations can rely as they once did on print ads and reviews reaching the same population though newspapers. As returns diminish with this form of communication to patrons, what will take its place?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jaymie permalink
    April 20, 2009 2:15 pm

    It seems to me that there isn’t just one answer to “what will take its place.” That answer will depend on the organization and its various constituents. If fewer people in general are reading the paper, but 90% of an organization’s audience still does, why change at all?

  2. dialoguefringe permalink*
    April 20, 2009 6:56 pm

    Two things here. If 90% are all reading the paper now, that’s great, but that doesn’t mean you ignore all the options out there. The problem is that the audience will change and the organization needs to be able to adjust to its audience’s new habits. Also, in order to attract new audience, arts organizations must try to connect in every way they can, and that means adopting new communications models. I don’t think there is a magic solution here as much as a need to re-evaluate what was done in the past and formulate changes that are necessary for success in the future.

    -Chris

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