PHOENIX — While in decline, news in print is far from dead but just one of many platforms in a constantly changing market, a panel of industry leaders said Friday.
“There are many different kinds of models out there,” said Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor and current vice president-at-large of The Washington Post. “A number of them are prospering, a number of them are fragile. And we’re going to continue to see that kind of ebb and flow, I think, for some time to come.”
Downie addressed the future of print at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ spring conference, joined by Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA Today; Johnathan Davis, chief content officer of International Business Times Inc.; and Peter Bhatia, editor of The Oregonian and vice president/content of Oregonian Media Group.
Downie, who is the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where the conference was held, said there is less of a divide these days between the business and news sides of news organizations – breaking down what he called “the Chinese wall.”
“You can’t do that now anymore,” he said.
Kramer said Gannett Co., although increasing its digital focus, wants to maintain print readership as long as possible. He said he isn’t worried about the idea that young people aren’t reading news in print because they never have.
“They got interested in them – local newspapers – when they got into local communities, when they started raising families, they started to settle down, when schools, traffic, local issues started to mean something to them,” he said.
Kramer said one of USA Today’s goals is rebranding not just as a newspaper but as a source of news from across Gannett Co. media properties. As for changes at the local level, he pointed to the integration of content from The Arizona Republic and Phoenix NBC affiliate KPNX, both owned by Gannett, in the news website azcentral.com.
“The TV stations need words on their websites, they need people who are doing content coverage that isn’t television,” he said. “One of the reasons we wanted to do print first is that is print still has a life. Print is a whole lot better when you’re building a brand or when you want people to discover something.”
Davis, co-founder of International Business Times, said he and his business partner, Etienne Uzac, saw a niche to tell business stories in an increasingly small world.
“When we looked across the media landscape we saw an opportunity to really tell that type of story,” he said.
In August, International Business Times bought Newsweek magazine, which had ceased its print edition in 2012, and relaunched it recently with a print version. Davis said the changes were made with the consumer in mind rather than appealing to advertisers.
“We’re really going after the consumers,” he said. “The consumers responded well, and as a byproduct of that advertisers are also responding well.”
Bhatia said The Oregonian is a different place than it was six months ago – including reducing home delivery to four times a week – and is now focused on being digital-first. He said some long-term readers have been upset, but he said his company isn’t abandoning print.
“The point is though that as a digital-first news organization we’re delivering news as it occurs, when it occurs, 24/7, and that’s available to people in a number of ways,” he said.
Downie said the future of journalism includes building brands, not just of newspapers but of journalists whose brands may be acquired by institutions or flourish independently.
“I believe that on the Internet, in the digital world, that brands do matter, that the USA Today brand matters, that The Washington Post brand matters, but also individual journalists’ brands matter, and you need to be cultivating all of those,” he said.
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon