Bing: Reports of newspapers' demise exaggerated


Sure, you can find bad news about the newspaper industry without much hassle.

Yet Stanley Bing, writing in Fortune, says newspapers are a hell of a lot more alive than dead. Viva Bing!

One day there will be no newspapers, because No Young People Read Newspapers. Is this true? My kids are of sentient age. They read newspapers. In fact, they’re both knee deep in Obamamania right now, and read everything they can get their hands on. I see people reading newspapers on the street, in parks, on subways and buses… when you get a bad story in the newspaper it still ruins your day…

But no. They’re dead. Know why? Because Advertising is Down in newspapers. Now of course, advertising is sort of down across the board, and actually MUCH more disappointing on all those social networks everybody loves so much… and newspapers still attract a HUGE proportion of total advertising…

But no. Newspapers are dead. And advertisers read that and, timid little lambkins that they are, cut their budgets even more, because after all who wants to advertise in a dead medium?

Finally, newspapers are, you know, dead because they Haven’t Changed With The Times and News Is A Commodity That You Can Get Just As Well Online.

Except guess what. It’s not. I’ll just say what I think and get out of here. As always, if you agree, lob something in.

  • I like newspapers. I look at a few every day and even read some of each;
  • I don’t believe everything I read in the paper, but I’m interested in what they think is interesting;
  • Newspapers have been around a long time, from medieval days through the time of Horace Greeley (above) and beyond. Radio didn’t kill them. TV didn’t kill them. The internet will not kill them;
  • If there were no newspapers, all we’d have is the Internet, whose capacity for the promulgating and dispensation of bulls**t is unparalleled;
  • I am NOT interested in a PERSONAL, daily e-mail informing me only of the stuff I pre-select as of interest to me. What’s the pleasure in that?
  • If we all had a euro for every article in some medium that declared another medium dead, we’d all be Europeans;
  • Aggregators can only aggregate content if there is content to aggregate. No content, no aggregators;
  • Contrary to popular belief, journalism is an actual profession that takes training, talent and skill, and one of the most rigorous and necessary places in which it’s pursued is in newspapers;
  • 89% of all citizen-journalists are just full of it.

So let’s take a breath and just agree: newspapers aren’t any deader right now than any other coughing, wheezing business in this lousy environment. Lehman (LEH) is losing nearly $3 billion dollars this quarter. Nobody talks about investment banking being dead. Broadcast television just racked up more than $9.2 billion in its upfront sales season, in spite of analysts’ predictions that this year would be its last. And not one social network is really making a go of it yet.

Now you guys in newspapers could probably help a little, going forward. Why not stop writing pieces every day about how dead every other industry is? Just a thought, tough guys.

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