TODAY’S LETTERS: Declining Newspaper Ad Revenues

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By: E&P Staff

Readers had plenty to say this week about a recent story we had about declining newspaper ad revenues.

NAA Reveals Biggest Ad Revenue Plunge in More Than 50 Years
Really. I used to love sitting down every day with my newspaper. But as time passed, the paper’s content became worse, until I was forced to cancel it. This was about 15 years ago.

I’d love nothing better than for newspapers to finally listen to people like me and get their act together, but I fear that the people who work for them put their ideology ahead of everything else, and so it will not happen.

Thanks for the story. It’s a shame.

Gary Hills

I have yet to read in any of the multitude of articles on the print media devolution, what one would think would be a key ingredient of the question:


Why is the impact of dreadfully poor content not a factor in this question?

Patrick Mallon
Mission Viejo, Calif.

The newspaper industry in general needs some honest introspection.

The reason ads are down is because readership has declined. Why spend money on an audience that is not there? I know. I rely on advertising in my retail business but am finding more and more that print advertising is ineffective. Blame the economy if you insist, but your head is in the sand.

Readership has declined for two reasons: first and foremost, poor reporting skills regarding accuracy and interjection of political interpretation of the “facts” into events outside the editorial page. I WANT THE FACTS. If I want a sermon, I go to church. If I want interpretation of events, I go to the editorial page, not the front page. Second, the ignorance (since most are college grads, at least I assume they aren’t stupid) of most reporters regarding their topic is appalling and entertaining to the well read at the same time and most people of average intelligence can see thru the hubris they employ to match their agenda.

Secondly, each succeeding generation is less literate than the former as a result of public schooling, in general, lowering their standards to the lowest common denominator in the interest of social promotion. I know, I hire first jobbers right out of high school and their ability to effectively communicate, either written or oral, is abysmal; their work ethic is not much to write home about either. Why should they want to read about a subject that is beyond their comprehensive ability because they lack the formal education to critically think or the drive to improve their lot? Thus, they latch onto blogs that are for the most part mindless drivel.

Yet I do have hope. The veterans I have employed after their time on active duty and just 4-5 years older or the students who have finished 2 -3 years of college are reliable and motivated. Many have obtained new skills that they adapt to the work place without much ado. They don’t stay long in retail, it’s a tough business, but I am pleased with their performance. BUT they still don’t care about newspapers because they never saw the value when they were young and forming habits.

At my fathers house, both my father and mother barely had 12th grade educations, every Saturday and Sunday we took the LA Times, read specific stories from the past week and were expected to discuss during them at length at the morning meal with him and my mother. This technique got every one of his 3 kids involved in politics at the local level and every one of them either successful businessmen or graduates with advanced degrees and spouses of the same character. I think one of the reasons for our success was that we were inculcated early with the practice of tracking events and discussing the impact of the events reported in the newspapers.

I only hope that the quality of factual reporting tomorrow reaches the quality of 40-50 years ago,

Frank J Bellino
Ridgecrest CA

Maybe if the major newspapers would report the news without being so biased towards the Democratic view,
they might receive more advertising.

Being a former owner of a local newspaper, I know if we had been as slanted as they are, we would have no advertising revenue ether.

J. Stevens

Two questions.

First, how many newspapers were there at the turn of the century compared to now?

Second, why do you think that network news is also flat?

The market is changing, the consumer is changing and the papers, that remain, are moving at a snail’s pace to meet these changes.

Same with the networks. Give it another ten years and the big three are going to be remembered like Pan Am, Plymouth and several other corportations that were once great, but no more.

As for the papers, consolidation, bias and what now amounts to telling people what happened yesterday must compete with a robust enviroment where news demand is met immediately either by cable/satellite, radio or internet. And a growing potential customer base that either does not read, does not have the time to sit down (except on Sunday) to leisurely peruse the paper, or could care less.

The future is not bright for the print news business.

Take a look at a typical city paper. Except for local, almost all the news comes from AP or some other agency. Guess what, I read most of those stories on the internet yesterday. So where is the incentive to buy a daily that tells me what I already know. Comics? I have seven times the amount available via the internet. Movies, same. And the list continues. So what exactly does the newspaper provide anymore? That is the question that should be asked. That, and what relevancy do they have?

And don’t get me started on editorials. If I wanted to ready The New York Times I would buy it. So why are 90% of the editorial pages monopolized by the Times writers day in and day out?

R. P. Fredette

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