There is a lot of talk about advertising revenue that has almost disappeared from print newspapers as if that was the only thing that sparked the current crisis.
We have to go back to 1920 to notice the beginning of the decline of newspapers. In 1920, radio arrived and took market share for news as well as newspaper advertising.
In 1950, the arrival of television gave newspapers another blow.
Then, the coup de grace came in 1990 with the arrival of the internet and a paradigm shift that we have not talked about much lately, so much is it with us now.
Classified ads were really the cash cow of newspapers and, thanks to this income, they were able to offer exceptional conditions to journalists as well as amazing income to shareholders.
Before the arrival of Craigslist, newspaper average profit margins were 30%. In 1995, Craigslist popped up and owed most of the cash cow.
But again, Craigslist grew out of the newspaper's greed for classified ads. They were charging so much that they opened the door to a new competitor. Today, no one would think of contacting a newspaper to sell their kitchen table. No, there is Kijiji, Les PAC and others.
François Legault's response to remedy this 100-year decline Subscribe to newspapers!! »
It will not be enough. Most newspapers have too heavy a history for the trend to be reversed. Just think of the pension fund for retired employees that you have to support.
Journalism isn't going to go away, but it doesn't take a fortune teller to see newsprint as the worst way to deliver news, and yet the industry survived until there was a better alternative. Radio was a better alternative, television was a better alternative, and the web even better.
If we decide as a society to keep newspapers alive, we will have to pay millions of dollars annually and continually deny progress. Nature abhors a vacuum, and just because a paper journal disappears does not mean that information disappears with it. On the contrary, a new way of getting informed will emerge, as it has been for over 100 years.