Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cities without Newspapers?

Older readers can remember a time when most large metropolitan areas boasted multiple daily newspaper choices. Now, only the largest of metropolitan areas have more than one major offering, and many of the sorts of people that read news regret that lack of competitive news gathering. Given the seeming inability of dailies to redefine their roles in an era of technologically driven news sources, we may see a time when some large cities don't have any.

Is that where we are headed? If so, for all of my criticism of the media, we will be worse off for it.

I don't think that will happen in the metroplex anytime soon, if at all, but recent events point toward the likelihood of the collapse of the news business. As an example, in the face of rapidly declining circulation and advertising revenues, the Dallas Morning News has implemented a second price increase in less than a year, thus doubling the price of the daily paper from what it was a year ago.

I am sure that the number crunchers at DMN who are privy to all of the economic realities of revenues and expenses consider this necessary, and maybe it is, but it is also a recipe for decline. You don't have to be Adam Smith to recognize that raising the price of a product that is already becoming less valued by its consumers will accelerate the decline.

To increase revenue, the newspaper has to figure out how to increase its perceived value. Increasing prices for something that fewer and fewer people want is a formula for death.


Anonymous Lanette said...

Maybe what DMN needs is an economist who understands economy 101. Perhaps, he was laid off during a cut-back.

2:49 PM  

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