Signs Of The ‘Times’
01/05/2009 - 01:00
Gary Rosenblatt

Monday, January 5th, 2009

How the mighty have fallen. The New York Times is the latest major daily newspaper to lower its traditional editorial standards, now accepting display advertising on its front page.

An article in its Business section today noted that “in its latest concession to the worst revenue slide since the Depression,” The Times ran a two and a half inch high ad for CBS in color across the bottom of page one of Monday’s edition.

The Washington Post is one of the last holdouts among major dailies now, with the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times having also succumbed to the increasingly desperate need for advertising.

As if to underscore the crisis for print publications, The Times also reported on Monday that more Americans now get most of their news from the Internet rather than newspapers. Forty percent cite the Internet as their primary source for news while 35 percent said newspapers, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The study noted that the percentage of people who rely on newspapers actually increased one percentage point last year, but the number of Internet readers almost doubled, from 24 percent a year ago.

And another article in The Times on Monday described how monthly magazines have seen their ad pages dwindle for January, a traditionally slow month, with Conde Nast publications taking some of the biggest hits. Wired was down 47 percent in ad pages from a year ago, Architectural Digest 46 percent, and Vogue 44 percent.

There’s little gloating among competitors in the industry, though, as everyone tries to find a way to make money on the Internet. How do you give your product a way for free - in this case, original news reporting - and attract enough advertising to stay afloat?

A few publications, most notably The Wall Street Journal, charge for their product. But the Journal is not only a niche publication with a special appeal to high-income readers, it may well be that a high percentage of those readers charge their subscription to their companies as a business expense.

In the meantime, the rest of us are doing our best to provide quality journalism under increasingly difficult conditions.

So while I appreciate your reading this Blog, I hope you’re also reading, and subscribing to, our weekly print edition. If not, see me after class…

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