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“Goodbye, Colorado,” read the last front page in the 150-year history of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News.
As the sad story in CNN reads, “The Rocky Mountain News was the latest victim in an era of shutdowns, layoffs and cutbacks plaguing the newspaper industry.” However, to use a newspaper axiom, “Read between the lines.”
The reason for all of these shutdowns, layoffs and cutbacks is because of this little thing called the Internet. The days of yesteryear when you would peel open that front page headline with a morning cup of Joe are long gone. Now, we consult the warm, inviting screen of each outlet’s home page to direct us to today’s breaking news. And while that is peachy, don’t be surprised when some changes take place in light of this economy.
What changes? Two words: Paid Reading.
While in the media, I had a sage general manager who summarized the biz with one pearl of wisdom, “We are not here to broadcast the news; we are here to play advertising in-between.” Sponsors pay the bills, and without the print pubs that offer fetching real estate, where else is the money going to made to bring you the news?
Bring it closer to home. The newspaper industry began feeling the pinch around last October. Take a look at what happened to the Dallas Morning News around then. There is a reason publishers are putting all their resources in the online product, it’s where the readers are going. And if the readers are there, the advertisers will not be too far behind.
Imagine a day when you log on to your local paper, and you have to enter your subscription code before you peruse the editorials. And you think the barrage of pop-ups and floating ads are bad now. Just wait.
If you think the best things in life are free, maybe you won’t mind paying for them at times. At least, that’s what your local newspaper publisher is hoping.