Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Doomsday clock ticks

It's not a great week for print journalism.

Although I can't find any direct mention of this on the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) Web site, Editor & Publisher reports that the respected daily is dropping its daily print edition in favour of online reporting. The 100-year-old CSM will print a weekend magazine to accompany the Web site.

The CSM will host a webcast next week on the future of journalism which will no doubt go into great detail concerning the switch.

Newsweek, meanwhile, has announced a first-half drop in net income of 73%, thanks to an 18% drop in ad sales and lower ad rates due to a reduction in readership of about 15%.

Newsweek's primary competitor, Time, is laying off 600 people, about 6% of its workers. Magazine publishing house Conde Nast is reducing budgets by 5% across the board.

Feel free to start reading the Magazine Death Pool.


Blogger Wendy Smith said...

I'd wager that within the next six months to a year, the media landscape is going to look drastically different from what we're used to.

But, print or no print, the world will still need journalists - people who process, aggregate and synthesize information for publics.

As for the CSM - I've always thought they did good, thoughtful reporting, and I'm a regular frequenter of their website edition although I don't subscribe to the print version. So in my case, as long as they keep the first-rate content, it doesn't make much difference to me as a consumer.

Of course, the real problem here (for those of us making a living from this, especially) is how to keep journalism a commercially viable enterprise.

I'd say the old economic models of mass advertising are unsustainable and in the future we might see more magazines (print or online or whatever) relying on public and private sector grant funding. I'd personally like to see some kind of endowment or foundation to support investigative reportage in this country, the kind of work that allows journalists to really engage with the world rather than simply transcribing the world.

October 30, 2008 5:10 PM  

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