The News About Newspapers And Why You Are Here By George Sylvie School of Journalism The University of Texas at Austin
So? • What is the future of newspapers? • What is the future of journalism? • What do you think?
The Future Begins Now New Journalism Joke: Q: If the newspaper industry were a baseball game, what inning would we be in now? A: The 19th
The Pitcher: Technology • “As tweets grow exponentially and traditional news outlets shed readers and staff, the digital realm, despite some limitations of access and signal disruptions, is simply more attractive—for speed, ease and multimedia storytelling. ” -- Gerald Jordan, U. of Arkansas j prof in recent story on Philadelphia Inquirer
The Pitch “The demand, in turn, for output has compounded stress in newsrooms where staffs are dwindling even though coverage areas are essentially unchanged. On a typical assignment, a reporter is expected now to report from the scene, photograph it if possible, post information on Twitter, file 150 to 200 words for the digital story, update a blog or the news organization’s Facebook page, then write an article for the newspaper that will be published the next morning. ”
The Details • “One run at a time” – Most newspapers are profitable, many with margins in the mid-teens. But net margins – after interest, taxes and special charges – are razor-thin. • “Pick off plays” – Most papers achieved profitability largely through cutting. • “Sacrifice bunts” – Some papers also operated in the red for 2011, essentially choosing to reinvest in new programs.
More “Small” Stuff • “Reliable bullpen” – Stress investigative, local coverage • “Defense” – Apps and Niche sites to extend and reinforce the brand • “Steals” – Updating the web site to stay abreast, stay current, and scoop competitors • “Walks” – Patiently and slowly using audience input to show interactivity, customer sensitivity
One Solution • http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-9-2009/walter-isaacson
But We Prefer • You • Why you’re here • Your potential
Newspaper Advisors are Different • Nobody understands you • You share sense of mission with your staff • Journalism is multi-skilled • Multiple functions • Extend the English program • PR for the school • School consumer advocate • Outlet for expression • Aim for higher order skills
What about You, The Reader? From paper and online editions of newspapers to television newscasts, “The Daily Show,” Facebook and Twitter, there are many ways to get the news. What is your “go to” news source — and what kind of news are you looking for? Has this changed over the course of time for you or for your family?