Michael Massing lays out some of the key reasons for the declining news business in the New York Review of Books. The symptoms for classic print products in crisis are folding newspapers, cuts in publication frequency and, obviously, lay-offs. In a nutshell, it’s due to three main causes.
1) A massive drop in advertising volume due to the classic advertisers being in an economic crisis.
2) A collapse of ad rates since the internet has taken over much of the ad market.
3) Greed and mismanagement on the part of newspaper owners.
The solution is, simply speaking, to create online content that readers will be willing to pay for and thus either chip in for the news enterprise, or even buy a subscription, whether for online or print content. But all of that only works on one condition:
The prerequisite for establishing a pay-for-content model is good content—must-read content. It’s extremely important in the modern news business to be clear on what your comparative advantage is. If you want to be everything to everybody and spread your resources too thin, you’re going to get into trouble.