Web surpasses newspapers as a source of news

Wanna buy a building?
Daylife/AP Photo by Frank Franklin II

As Barack Obama marched towards the White House and the economy plunged, more Americans ditched newspapers for the internet.

For the first time, more Americans are getting their news online than from traditional ink and paper, although the popularity of television still eclipses all other forms of media.

In an apparently sharp shift in habits, the Washington-based Pew Research Centre found that the number of consumers using the web as a main news source surged from 24% to 40% in a year, overtaking the 35% who rely on newspapers. Television slipped from 74% to 70%.

The change is yet another blow to the newspaper industry. Papers across the US are cutting jobs, closing bureaux and trimming costs as they try to adjust to a collapse in advertising revenue.

Sree Sreenivasan added: “Keep in mind that most online news people read still uses a lot of newspaper-sourced copy that has been put on line. It’s still a lot of traditional media that’s feeding this.”

The Boss over at the “big” blog I edit has written a great deal about this. He comes from a background in print journalism [and science]. I am strictly a geek. Been online since 1983. He mostly bewails the self-destructive attitude of newspaper owners cum beancounters – like the Tribune crew. Times get tough? Fire the talent to cut costs.

Our local newspaper just did that. I sat down with the bright dude who built their prizewinning online presence a few years back and discussed sales campaigns with him a few years back. He predicted that online eyeballs would exceed print readers within a few years. He already had their online income up over their nearest print competitors’ hard copy income.

Couple months back, reality began to set in. Who did they let go? You got it. Why pay that larger salary when you can manage the online operation with a junior reporter.

Of course, that doesn’t assure your ability to keep up with changing fads and fashion. That negates the probability of leadership, advanced style and substance – but, then, if you think your online audience is somehow “less” capable and interesting than print customers – that’s not likely to imprint on your limited perception of the world of communications.

I stopped contributing to their environment and ecology blog – on my own. Why support them?

The primary source for content for many blogs and news website is still print journalists. I still think they’re the best in the business. They have skill-sets devoted to communicating information in a timely fashion. And the best of their employers seem to have figured out how to stay in business in a world where cyber-jounalism is becoming predominant.

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