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There’s much discussion about whether newspapers are a dying breed, but Adam Penenberg, assistant professor at New York University notes in Wired that more people than ever are reading newspapers and newspaper formats — they’re just doing it online. Consumers don’t read the paper from cover to cover for an hour anymore. Now they bounce around from site to site, newsfeeds, newsletters and search engines to pick out the information they want.
It’s still all about content, and whomever does content best is going to be read. Penenberg says, and I agree, “whether we’re talking today or 10 years ago, it’s not the medium, it’s the reporter.”
NYU Journalism prof and Pressthink blogger Jay Rosen notes “The mightiest daily of them all, the Wall Street Journal, where any number of J-gods live (Only Website Able to Charge) is just a blip in the finances of Google. Humbling.”
It will get harder and harder for print publications to attract readers’ attention to advertising. Even though I read three print newspapers a day — NY Times, Wall St. Journal and NY Daily News — I look for certain topics and writers in each one. I’m more likely to click through an online ad (as long as the freaking thing doesn’t blink or flash at me) to find out more about the product than I am to read a print ad. Online, I use the Times and Journal for their archives and to follow links in stories.
I subscribe to thousands of dollars worth of magazines and newsletters online and off, and I follow certain writers and topics in each of them. About the only print publications I read from cover to cover are The Week and Whole Dog Journal.