If you’ve read an earlier post on metred content how it changes the objectives of a newsroom, you might think I’m all about the cash grab.
Or that I’m a Pollyanna, putting a positive spin on things.
Yeah, people got mad at that post. The thought of public service journalism (and that is exactly what journalism is when done correctly – I’m talking about more than a Kim Kardashian photo gallery) costing something is outrageous.
To which I say: how much did that coffee cost you this morning?
Here’s the thing, here’s the ugly truth: reporters, photographers, editors, copyeditors, paginators, web editors, developers… cost money.
Journalism isn’t free to produce.
And newspapers are bleeding. Take a look at this graphic from the business journal, which shows advertising income at U.S. newspapers on par with 1950. That’s pre-Mad Men people.
Upon seeing this, Steve Buttry crunched the numbers and again underlined the importance of being in a company with a strong digital initiative.
It’s important and urgent, Buttry wrote.
I’ve had a wonderful career, most of it in the years when newspaper advertising revenues were rising. But the future of print is pretty clear in these numbers. I’m glad I work at a company that’s pursuing the crossover pointwhere the rise in digital ad sales will exceed the decline in print dollars. Growing digital sales aggressively and developing new revenue streams are the only paths to a prosperous future.
Buttry’s last line echoes in this post: ‘developing new revenue streams.’
Are paywalls the answer? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s be honest, if I had the answer I’d be living the life of luxury on a tropical island.
It’s time to stop ignoring the bleeding, and acting like this isn’t happening. If we want to save the news organizations we love and (yes I will capitalize) TRUST, it’s time to think of new sources of income.
I’m all ears.