Blogging and Social Media are Killing Off Newspapers — Including the New York Times?
"We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD," said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher and chairman of the New York Times, in an ironic and unwitting reminder of the Allbritton-owned TBD network, which is using blogs and social media to put an innovative spin on local news in Washington, D.C. TBD is a perfect example of exactly the kind of innovation we're seeing on the Web that may be killing off newspapers as we know them.
Sulzberger's statement comes at a time when traditional news media are doing a little bit of soul-searching trying to find their place on the Web. Do they focus on their website? Should they be extra active on social media? Should they kill off their print business? Or all of the above?
There are a lot of unanswered questions for traditional media, but there's no question their competition is getting tougher each and every day.
Throughout the past decade blogs have become a tremendous force in breaking and spreading news throughout the Web. More recently, social networks such as Facebook and especially Twitter have almost revolutionized the idea of breaking news, cutting into the wire services' business and even being viewed as legitimate news platforms all by themselves.
A report for the Pew Internet and American Life Project back in March revealed that just half of Americans read a newspaper for news at all, and only 17 percent read a national newspaper such as the New York Times.
Perhaps more importantly, 61 percent of those surveyed said they get their news online, and 37 percent of news consumers are classified as participatory, which Pew defines as having "contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter." Read the rest of the report here.
That 37 percent isn't getting any smaller--in fact, it's probably growing by leaps and bounds. Hear that, newspapers? That's the sound of your business model being twittered away into oblivion.