Media problems

There is a common lament in the media sector: circulation is either flat or declining slightly, this in the face of a strong economy. Many people are devoting more time to the internet or have given up entirely on newspapers and magazines.
As a consequence, advertising revenues in those areas have suffered as a greater focus is going online.
Felix Dennis, a publisher, stated that, "It’s a long, slow sunset for ink-on-paper magazines." The situation is similar to the problems facing newspapers. What is going on to trigger this situation?
Many young people have given up reading newspapers. Editors have responded by appealing to the lowest common denominator. They feature local news at the expense of critically important issues that would attract readers.
Also, many papers now are part of a national chain – and they try to avoid controversy. The crusading newspapers and magazines have become rare.
Clearly, the internet’s popularity has hit newspapers and magazines. That is similar to what happened with the advent of television. Then, movie attendance dropped sharply, but later, as the novelty of television wore off, people once again flocked to movie theatres.
There is good reason now why newspaper and magazine owners should not feel too despondent, however. For readers, many of the pleasing characteristics of print media, such as their portability and their permanence, cannot be matched online. Also, many magazines have a unique glossiness.
The appetite for magazines largely is unchanged between "baby boomers" and those who are a few years older. This gives hope that those who are younger than those groups will be attracted to newspapers and magazines as they get older. They will be bored by looking at computer screens and once again shift to print media.
Certainly, it is about time that newspapers and magazines switch their attention. Both could offer much more in-depth analysis of current events, replicating what the successful newspaper in magazine format, The Economist does so well.
Then the print media should be willing to tackle more controversial subjects that hitherto they have avoided for fear of offending some. They are so politically correct that they are too bland. A wider net can be created by reversing their lacklustre tactics.
Hence, newspapers and magazines can be revamped to compete in the digital age; one should not give up on the print media.

Bruce Whitestone