The Economist is one of the rare news publications that are surviving, and thriving in the economic downturn.
It managed to set up an innovative digital product and keep its print version profitable. It enjoys the privilege of maintaining foreign bureaus and correspondents writing for it in Hong Kong, Nairobi, Moscow, Cairo, Brussels, Washington, and Los Angeles to name a few, as the rest of the newspaper industry undergoes a painful crunch. Read more
In the U.S., many newspaper companies have sold their headquarters in the city centers and moved to smaller buildings in the suburbs. Those that haven’t are sharing their buildings with others firms. For example, San Francisco Chronicle has moved in with Yahoo! Inc., Los Angeles Times with a call-center and Seattle Times with a wine company. In one extreme case, a casino and a luxury resort is to be built at the facility where the Miami Herald was printed until a few months ago. The Malaysian tourism company Genting bought the newspaper company’s property at the seaside for 236 million US dollars. The Miami Herald’s newsroom is now located in suburban Doral, approximately 20 minutes by car from the Miami city center. Is the financial crisis of the newspaper industry responsible for these drastic measures? Probably so, but there may be more to it. Read more
Ambitious, original, labour intensive journalism costs money, but is worth little on the open market. As behavioural economist Dan Ariely argues, most of us tend to behave irrationally if we can get something that appears to be free. We simply don’t calculate the hidden costs of these offers. News consumers are no different to any other group in society: they often seek out what is free without thinking about the true cost of not paying for news.
New technology is helping change that, as innovations in consumer devices and new approaches to electronic billing, may make recipients more willing to pay. The Reuters Institute’s 2013 Digital News Report shows that around 10 percent of people in the UK, Germany, Denmark, the US and France have paid for news in some digital form. The figure is one third higher than last year. According to the State of the News Media 2013 report by Pew Research Center’s Project for the Excellence in Journalism, 450 out of America’s 1,380 daily newspapers are adopting digital paywalls. Circulation revenues have held steady, despite the introduction of paywalls combined with price increases for print copies.
But the market for news is in flux. Read more
To judge by the prevailing tone of public discussion, journalism in Europe and America has been suffering a prolonged nervous breakdown. Jobs are lost as newsrooms contract, print circulations shrink and online news startups fail because they can’t make enough to survive. The portrait of some newsrooms painted by the Leveson Inquiry was not pretty.
Writing a book which examines these issues, I’ve come to think that most of this gloom is overdone and out of date. Read more
As soon as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos announced his acquisition of the Washington Post, people began asking why he had done it. What will the man who said there would be no printed newspapers in 20 years do with one of the most respected titles in the industry?
Two media experts in the U.S. give their thoughts about the deal. Read more
Media managers and journalists are not good at dealing with criticism. They demand accountability and transparency from others, but do not see why they should hold themselves up to similar scrutiny. This study argues that the media industry is wrong to be wary of measures that make it more accountable and that it will benefit financially by becoming more accountable and responsive in its work.
This report starts with an assumption that the media is powerful, and that power in democracy needs to be controlled and counterbalanced. It also assumes that press freedom is a basic prerequisite for a democracy and plays a vital role in creating an informed citizenry. Read more
What challenges must the Albanian media face as technological changes shake five centuries of media tradition? The shift to new technology in the United States and Western Europe – though rapid in the larger context – was gradual enough to allow media outlets to adapt, whereas in Albania, the shift came suddenly and met the media unprepared. To make matters worse, the Albanian media is in the midst of a tough economic and financial crisis, grappling with dwindling audiences for traditional news as well as a decrease in interest from advertisers. Hence, the Albanian media must prepare to face down several new challenges.
The first challenge relates to changing the culture of professional journalism. Albanian journalists’ past experiences, education and traditions have not prepared them to take advantage of the latest information technology and to properly communicate with an increasingly interactive audience. Journalists in various media forums rarely maintain a dialogue with their audience. Also, the selection of outlets that offer value-added journalism – journalism which analyzes events and information – is still very slim. There is now an abundance of sources that provide information about current events without expecting much input from the journalist. That’s without even getting into the shift to a culture of online journalism, and how written Web content is increasingly accessed by a new generation technology and digital reading devices, such as the so-called “fourth screen” or the screen of the latest smartphones.