Is the death of the newspaper really inevitable?

13 Sep

At Copeland, we’ve asked ourselves this question countless times over the past few years thanks to our client, the Time Colonist.

Newspapers worldwide are either folding, going exclusively online or at best seeing their circulation nose dive and their ad revenues tank. Along with this comes The Death of Journalism and The End of the Publishing World.

Is there nothing that can be done? Is the end of this iconic medium as inevitable as the demise of the dial telephone and the cassette player?

Perhaps the very environment that is eroding readership – the Internet – can also stimulate the strategy to keep it alive.

Here’s the thinking: Parents aren’t thrilled that their kids are online all the time. Moms and dads, back me up! It’s difficult to control the content they are exposed to and it sucks them in for hours.

Since my own daughter started reading the Comics section in the TC, she has become addicted to it. In time, her interest will expand to other sections of the paper. We are inculcating in her a disposition to the pleasures of the medium.

Why not more content aimed at kids in the TC? So much of the current content is preaching to the choir and not reaching out to new readers.

True enough, 76% of Victorians still read the TC at least once a week (2009 NadBank results). But this is an aging readership.

We know the TC cares about literacy amongst kids. Maybe it’s time for them to add a permanent kids’ section to bring them into the newspaper fold.

I think parents, especially those already subscribing, would push it.

Thoughts on this? Other ideas?

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7 Responses to “Is the death of the newspaper really inevitable?”

  1. westcoastthoughts September 13, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    Yes.

  2. kylabee September 13, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Good thinking Doug. That would be a great idea for the TC to do and have parents pass the paper along to their kids. Also a great way for more families to do things together. They could be together at breakfast perhaps or it could be reading for the kids & parents together at bedtime.

  3. tom September 13, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    Youth orientated content is definitely the way to go to establishing a long term relationship with customers. When I was younger, the Sunday Times had a great kids section (maybe it still does) with dedicated content such as full page episodes based on contemporary children TV programmes, serialised Tintin comics and original features, rather than endlessly regurgitated syndicated cartoons.
    I then moved onto reading other sections as I got older.

    If newspapers can figure out how to get relevant content in front of kids and in a format they’re comfortable with, then they might be in with a chance of a long term future.

  4. dougbrowncreative September 13, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Kids are naturally interested in reading and aren’t as scheduled-in as adults. I don’t know what this means in the larger circulation picture, but it might be the pebble that dislodges the bigger boulders. Thanks for the comments guys!

  5. Jennifer Jones September 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    I both enjoyed reading and agreed with this post. I, for one, was feeling mighty grown up when I read the paper with my parents when I was wee.

    Note of happiness: The use of “inculcating”. Truly a great and underused word.

  6. dougbrowncreative September 14, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    As you can see, Lola is feeling pretty grown up too. Even though it’s the Funnies she’s reading. My goal is to have her on to the Business Section by Christmas. Great to have your comment Jennifer.

  7. Eden September 16, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Are magazines facing the same peril as newspapers? I noticed a surge of ads begging consumers to continue to buy magazines instead of turning to online sources.
    However is there more flexibility for say, Hearst Corporation to just decide that they won’t be posting articles online than there would be for TC or G&M?

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