We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Atlantic article links to a CJR article, which makes an interesting point about ad revenue relative to circulation revenue. Ad revenue for newspapers has been falling in the last decade, due to CraigsList and the like. It turns out that even with that fall, the ad revenue to circulation revenue ration is about what it was before 1980.Reader revenue and the great newspaper ad bubble.
The rule of thumb in newspapers used to be that they got four dollars of ads for every dollar of circulation. Back in 2005, the ad-to-subscription ratio peaked at 4.6 to 1. Now it’s 1.9-to-1, which, while a record low, is actually fairly close to where newspapers were until the late 1970s.
It’s striking how much less dependent papers were on advertising before the 1980s than they were during and afterward. The rise of advertising was largely due to the decline of newspaper competition, which has fallen steadily since the late 1970s (the number of dailies is down about 22 percent in the last 35 years).
The internet may bring the whole world to my fingertips, but instead it has evolved to a bunch of howling media sociopaths trying to stuff their perversions into my head. The stuff that's really important to me, neighborhood/city/county/state goings on, real factual stuff, has been lost in the cacophony. I mourn its passing.
And yet, phoenix-like, 21Cen local news will be reborn transformed. My wife has clued me into the first moments of rebirth in our local area. New internet media forms are sprouting.
It's a ground floor business opportunity for you young'uns. A platform that real people can provide information, make sales, advertise and inform. Community events. Marketplace of ideas. Neighbors talking to neighbors. And where the gatekeepers, little Stalins, scolds, neighborhood busybodies, sociopaths, cat ladies, are shunned and driven away to gnaw at themselves in the outer darkness.
One of the problems for consumers is that as competing newspapers fold, the surviving one has pretty much a monopoly over its readership area. This means that the surviving paper can charge pretty much anything it wants for people to run ads. Thus, for example, in my area the cost for legal notices is I'm guessing 20 times what it was when there were two competing daily papers. Churches also began to be charged outrageous fees for running church service notices in the Saturday paper. For the churches, most then opted out and the church ad page died, along with the religion section. But those who are forced to run legal ads due to statutory requirements are totally reamed. A required notice to creditors for probate purposes, for example, can cost $2,000 where I am. It used to cost $100.
This suggests that newspapers will survive. You're assuming circulation remains above break even point. When circulation drops below break even, the paper will fold, at least the print edition will. In our city, the circulation of our only paper's print edition has been tanking for several years (I quit it two years ago). Their print edition is just about history. They're trying to survive on the on-line edition, which is probably cheaper than print by several magnitudes. My wife subscribes to the on-line edition, I read Drudge and blogs. I don't think she'll subscribe to on-line much longer.
A required notice to creditors for probate purposes, for example, can cost $2,000 where I am. It used to cost $100.
A telling example of the consequences of the death of multi-newspaper towns.
The loss of ads to CraigsList and others also exacerbates the price-gouging on legally required ads. Gotta get revenue somewhere.
I recently looked at the local paper. It seems to have thinned down from 90 to 30 pages. That makes a lot less ad revenue.