Newspaper ad sales fall record $3B in 6 mths

I’m one of the speakers at the “Future Of Journalism” conference here in Brisbane tomorrow, which is kind of amusing as I’m the furthest thing you can get to a journalist. I’m a panelist on a session called “Who is going to pay for journalism?” and my answer is going to be “frakked if I know”.

As I’ve been saying for five years now, this isn’t about blogging versus journalism. This is about the economic model that old media companies prospered under for the last century being defunct. And it doesn’t matter how much bitching or whining journalists do about it, the fact is, the party is OVER.

Now that doesn’t mean we all don’t want great investigative journalism. As a society, we need it. I just don’t know who is going to pay for it. Of course we all know now that privatized investigative journalism is flawed, as is state-controlled journalism, but they are better than nothing.

As I said on Bronwen’s blog the other day, I don’t remember seeing many Australian journalists going out on strike over the last 20 years as the quality of journalism in this country reached ever-deeper lows. I don’t remember reading too many stories in the AGE or SMH about how tabloidy our news was becoming, either. They just shut up, stuck their heads in the sand, and took the money. They fiddled while Rome burned around them. It’s too late to cry foul now kids.

Meanwhile the Newspaper Association of America just reported that total newspaper advertising revenues fell by $3 billion in the first six months of this year to $18.8 billion, the lowest level in a dozen years.
(Thanks Bron for the link).

3 thoughts on “Newspaper ad sales fall record $3B in 6 mths

  1. I think that a news subscription should be complusory for all adults. To qualify as an eligible news outlet you would have to have at least 100 (50 domestic/50 overseas) on-the-ground journalists/bloggers/reporters who had to report news first hand ie they couldn’t just reprint press releases and agency copy. That would solve the problem. It would be a form of government subsidy without giving the government the power over where the money went.

  2. Whatever the flaws in presentation of much the mainstream press, I think it bodes ill for us to have less reporting from the ground. Discussion is all fine and good, but someone needs to actually get the basic facts before we have something to talk about. However, the problem is, and this problem isn’t entirely new, is that direct reporting is very frequently not as profitable as analysis.

    I don’t agree with Charlie’s solution. It would take out all small players and would push us to the opposite extreme.

    As to what the heck we should do, direct government subsidy would probably work to some extent, though some amount of corruption would be inevitable. I don’t know, I might get back to you on this-it would take some thought to work it out. I would not however, be defeatist and claim there is no solution to a problem of this nature. Obviously the Journalism business model needs to be changed; I don’t think Journalism is cleary on its last ropes however.

  3. CAMERON,

    IS IT TRUE THAT BILL O’REILLY ON FOX NEWS IS YOUR BROTHER??? MAYBE IT WILL SURPRISE EVERYONE AND THE CHRISTAINS WILL SAVE THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM BY WATCHING YOUR BROTHER ON TV!!!!!

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