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Impact of Failing Newspapers on Advertising and Quality of News

Mitch Leff shared this article this morning, detailing projections of which major US newspapers will fail or move to all digital before we exit the recession: The bigger question here is, what will the migration of former major dailies to the web do for you PR?

1. It will increase the credibility of the so-called citizen journalist. Once thought of as only writers for the web, now they will be joined by former traditionally trained, mainstream print journalist. When both pieces are available only on-line, the line of professionalism will be blurred.

2. The price of online advertising will increase. We’re already seeing this happen. Traditional media giants are taking their ad models to the web and driving up prices. It used to be web ads were cheap but not any more. Prices will continue to rise with the consolidation of media giants on the web.

3. Writing will improve. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Its the truth. Writing will improve. Here’s why: when you leisurely read your morning paper over coffee and a bagel, the writer has 3 columns and thousands of words to get the point across. You’re not going to turn the page in mid-sip and they know it. In contrast, writers for the web know how easy it is for you to click away and thus they’ve been trained to write more compelling headlines and lead paragraphs. (Sounds an awful lot like the lessons given to PR people for writing press releases.) If they don’t give you the good stuff up front, they’ve lost you and you’re not coming back.

So what’s your bet? Is your local, hometown daily going to make the cut? And will you care? Are you among the many who no longer find a paper at the base of their driveway each morning, instead opting to get their news on the web? Well then you already know what the future looks like.

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