Maybe the internet didn’t kill the newspaper

A rather poor summary of a presentation called “Beyond Determinism” that I gave at Westminster earlier this month on behalf of myself and David Levy have led to some misunderstandings.

Here is a better summary, from the Reuters Institute website:

Is the internet killing newspapers? On June 8, RISJ Postdoctoral Research Fellow Rasmus Kleis Nielsen presented preliminary research conducted with David Levy that suggests otherwise at a conference at the University of Westminster in London.

Comparing developments in the newspaper industry in the US, France, and Finland from 1998 to 2007, the two authors suggest that while the newspaper industry is clearly in decline in many developed countries today, the decline often started well before the advent of the internet, plays out very differently in different national contexts, and is—with the partial exception problems directly related to the recession—slow and gradual enough to offer most legacy news media organizations time and resources for a managed transition to a smaller but still central role in a new communications environment.

Clearly the newspaper industry face a structural adjustment today. Equally clearly, it still retains a large and loyal core readership and generates enormous revenue (though relatively speaking smaller than in the 1970s-1990s in many countries), and it is hard to imagine that commercial media organizations will simply leave the money on the table and walk away from news provision partially based on a print platform.


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