“Newspapers are dying, you know.” “Why would you want to study journalism, you aren’t going to make any money that way.” “In ten years you are going to be out of a job – journalists won’t be needed anymore.” These are all comments that I hear just about every single time I tell somebody that I am a journalism student. Not quite what a graduating college senior wants to hear during her last eight weeks of college – but sure, I value your opinion; heck, I might even agree with some of your comments. That first comment, the one about newspapers dying and what not? Yeah, sure, journalism is changing, nobody is going to argue with that, but people still have to get their news from somewhere.
I find the argument about web based papers making less money than print papers a little hard to swallow. It is common knowledge in the news industry doesn’t make money off of newspaper subscriptions anyway – it is all about advertisements. The New York Times and other major newspaper websites are not going to make money if they charge for content simply because people will refuse to pay for online subscriptions. Like Paul Preston says in his article Are Newspapers Trapped in a Web Based Time Warp, many people just click through websites looking for a fact or a picture, “no branding or devotion: only utility.” People who want to read more than a news story a day may pay for their subscriptions, but those who only want a photo or a quote from an article aren’t going to pay – they are going to find ways to get around the subscription fees by doing things such as downloading the article illegally. Let’s face it, we live in a time where the internet makes just about everything easy to download for free. Music? Why even ask. Movies? Nearly as easy as music. Articles? Blogs make that pretty easy. No matter what, however, people (like me) still visit news sites.
Graph found at: Marketing Trends
There has to be an easy medium between charging for news and granting people what I believe to be their right to news stories. Eventually there will be a way to have a credit card linked to any IP address and a certain amount of data viewed from a website will equal a certain amount of money that will automatically be charged to that credit card account. Or something like that. Until then, news sites will have to find ways to keep advertisers and encourage readers. We will always have ways to get news whether it be in the form of a news paper, on our Amazon Kindles, or on a website – news sites will eventually find ways to make money off of their users, they just have to be patient, creative, and innovative.
In response to: Are Newspapers Trapped in a Web Based Time Warp