Safety Myth

March 23, 2010 • Media Economics • by

A situational analysis questions the degree of safety for small newspapers.

Alan Mutter, a senior media and technology executive and author of Reflections of a Newsosaur, a blog about the news industry, re-examines the dangers of operating a small paper. Mutter explains that while small newspapers are somewhat protected by the isolation of communities they serve, they face certain dangers metro media outlets are exempt from.

Among the chief risks for small papers are dependency on local enterprises and aging rural populations. Primary sources of income for these papers arrive by way of local advertising, which are under siege by larger retailers like Wal-Mart.  Aging rural populations affect local newspapers in two ways: One one hand, 50 percent of newspaper readers are + 50 years old, and in the short run, a higher average reader age can be profitable for local newspapers. On the other hand, unfortunately, small newspapers risk losing their audiences as seniors die out.

For more, see Newsosaur.

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