Saving Journalism Is a Business Problem
— April 10, 2020
By Michael Posner
As Ben Smith argued recently in The New York Times, the existing business model of for-profit local newspapers may no longer be viable. While a handful of national news organizations like the Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post have a bright future, many local newspapers do not, even papers that have been pillars of their communities for decades. Because information now flows so easily and economically online, some smaller, local news organizations may need to pursue exclusively online journalism models as an important element of their future.
Last month, Margaret Sullivan wrote in the Washington Post “More than 2,000 newspapers have closed over the past 15 years, and a growing number of American counties are now news deserts, places where there is no regular source of local news.” Advertising revenues for newspapers in the US had fallen by 70% since 2006 before the COVID-19 crisis began. In recent weeks, advertising dollars have almost ground to a halt as a result of the pandemic. Kristen Hare at the Poynter Institute in Florida has begun cataloguing the newsroom layoffs, furloughs, and closures since the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a long list that will certainly grow much longer.
Read the full Forbes article.
Michael Posner is a Professor of Business and Society and Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.