What’s the Future of National Newspapers?

You don’t have to look very hard to find articles that bemoan the fate of national newspapers over the past few years. According to Harvard Politics, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have all been forced to cut 20 to 100 editorial jobs in recent years just to keep costs down. It is obvious that the old model of relying on print advertising is long gone and never coming back. But what is the real future of national newspapers? Are they disappearing, or can we expect a resurgence sometime soon?

Time To Embrace Technology

Newspaper publishers have been struggling for years to try and figure out how to make digital publishing as profitable as print publishing used to be. One of the facts that publishers have had to accept is that digital revenue may never be want print revenue was, and that is scary for many publishers.

According to the Mediatel website, a recent roundtable discussion revealed that publishers have been thinking about technology all wrong. It is being suggested that newspaper publishers embrace Facebook’s new publishing platform, and that newspapers look into media services such as Flipboard to reach a wider audience. It is time for publishers to go where the readers, and revenue, can be found.

Consider Mergers

The recent slew of mergers between large regional newspapers should inspire the national newspapers to do the same. The idea of USA Today merging with The Wall Street Journal can seem absurd, but the regional papers have shown that a merger like this could be financially beneficial to both newspapers.

In the case of USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, they both reach very different audiences, which could create a combined marketing reach that would be extremely valuable. A combined company could cut way back on marketing and sales costs, while putting together advertising options for local, regional and national advertisers that would be unique and valuable.

National newspapers
Mergers and embracing new technology are two ways national newspapers can survive.

So What Is The Future?

National newspapers may have to transition from being sole sources of national news, to becoming online media outlets. They will have to learn how to embrace new publishing platforms, and they may even have to learn how to live together if they want to survive. The precedent set by smaller newspapers shows that combining advertising platforms can create a very valuable asset for the new company, and that is something national newspapers have to consider.

As for the future for national newspapers, it is really up to the newspapers themselves. The music industry saw some of its biggest record labels succumb to wars with Internet providers and the advance of sophisticated recording software that anyone could use. The national newspapers need to learn how to work together and utilize the technology that is available if they want to survive, and they should probably start working on solutions as soon as possible.

What lessons can the newspaper industry take away from the music industry’s war with Internet service providers?

George N Root III is a professional freelance writer who has expertise in topics such as Internet marketing, business, advertising, and personal finance.

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