Readership decline: Where should we point the finger?

Dan Kennedy:

Not that we didn’t all know this, but check out the latest from the General Social Survey, reported in today’s New York Times.

The percentage of Americans who say they read a newspaper every day has dropped from nearly 70 percent to just over 30 percent.

So, do we blame:

  • Bean counting publishers who trimmed staffs
  • Dreams-of-glory journalists who chased too many big government stories instead of small people stories
  • A turbulent media environment of too many choices and a rapidly shifting culture

There’s plenty of blame to go around, I expect. And maybe no blame. Maybe that’s just the way it is. Now the question is, how do we adapt and protect our investors, our co-workers and serve our communities (which includes readers and advertisers)?

I have my ideas, and regular readers probably have some clues as to what those are, but what are yours?

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One thought on “Readership decline: Where should we point the finger?

  1. Get people talking about the newspaper – again. Obviously this will vary from market to market. Some may do it with a drastic redesign, others may launch on an investigation, others may expand coverage of a neglected area.

    Put some WOW in the newspaper. Yes, change for the sake of change. Don’t research it, focus group it, or marry it.

    If necessary, do it, then kill it.

    Make people feel like they have really missed something by not reading the newspaper. Apply that thought to every single story, syndicated stuff, and photo.

    Get the ad department to cut rates for a month and go for volume to give a much larger newshole.

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