Greatest threat to print journalism?

Answer: The Internet.

This is a theme that has popped up a million different times over the last number of years, “the death of print media” etc etc. According to the Irish Times Editor, Geraldine Kennedy:

the internet has posed a “huge threat” to the traditional structure and financing of the newspaper industry.”

While the internet is clearly drawing advertising and readers away from traditional print publications, there is no definitive evidence that the traditional media will die anytime soon. What we do know though is that the traditional media, in Ireland at any rate, is at this very minute under threat from a far more traditional source:

“THE IRISH Times Ltd made an after-tax loss of €27.9 million in 2009 as a result of costs related to a restructuring of the business and the effect of the recession on advertising revenues.”

“Circulation revenues fell marginally during the year but advertising income was 42.5 per cent lower due to the effects of the economic slowdown, particularly in property and recruitment.”

Maeve Donovan who “spearheaded the controversial “investment and diversification” strategy“, i.e. the purchase of MyHome.ie (which appeared to be a means of cutting out the middleman in the property advertising paradigm), also received “an ex-gratia payment of €1.1 million.”

Property advertising, as we all know, is declining predominantly because of an excess of 300,000 houses and the creation of a bad bank, guaranteed by the government and therefore the Irish public, with a balance sheet of empty and unfinished commercial property, which in turn prompted a series of deflationary government budget strategies, precipitating the IMF and ECB putting in place a means of exhorting billions of Euro from the Irish public to repay British, French and German banks for the coming generations.

So not only did the media’s symbiotic relationship with the property industry discredit journalism, and in turn alienate readers, but its over reliance on property advertising compromised the financial structure of instituion itself.

The traditional media doesn’t need a threat from the internet, it is well able to destroy itself.

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4 thoughts on “Greatest threat to print journalism?

  1. Very fair point, though Times hasn’t been example of well run business for a long time. Saying that, I think newspapers in general are struggling with strategy for future right now. They need to concentrate on what they do well, but good features, analysis, investigations require budget as opposed to rehashing press releases.

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