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Why are newspapers failing, who reads them anyway?

Its no secret that newspapers are struggling. Whether its slow response to our changing times or the growing popularity of the internet, as an advertising and marketing professional, I argue its a change in communication and the way we get information today, that is killing the newspapers. Newspapers are failing because their mode of communication is old fashioned and out of style. Who wants to read through 500 news stories to see if one might be of interest?

Online vs. Offline News

Online vs. Offline News

There are a few common themes to why this downturn is happening, slow response to change by big newspaper corporations and the growing popularity of the internet are just a few. Newspapers have been slow to innovate as eBay, Craigslist, Monster, Google and myriad ad networks have sprouted, thrived and stolen away online customers. Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and others are experimenting with community selection of news, while newspapers pay little more than lip service to online reader involvement.

As TIME Magazine points out, the bright spot for newspapers is the major shift to online readers. Newspaper online audiences are soaring with online readers sometimes outnumbering print circulation numbers. Meanwhile newspaper companies still struggle to replace print ad revenue with online advertising dollars.

While these concepts are mostly understood and make sense, I argue that newspapers are failing because they’re based on old fashioned ideas. In advertising and marketing we focus on communication. Constantly find ways to send a timely message, to be in touch our target audience, and newspapers seem to do exactly the opposite.

This is the disconnect. They deliver your newspaper to your doorstep every morning. Loaded with hundreds of stories that you are expected to read through to see if there is a story that you may find interesting. We don’t consume our information that way today. I can can use Google to find a story that I know I’m interested in, and with web enabled phones, I can find it immediately.

We still want news and information, you could argue we want even more of it, and we want it faster than ever before. But we don’t want it delivered to us in an old fashioned, out of date format like the newspaper.

Think about the last time you wanted to find a news story. Did you pull out the morning edition and wade through 500 stories to see if they covered it? Or did you Google it and find your story immediately?

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