BY CAROLINE LITTLE
PRESIDENT & CEO, NNA
The sky is always falling and newspapers are always dying.
For more than a decade, that has been a common and constant refrain. While working at washingtonpost.com, the Guardian US, and now, the Newspaper Association of America, I have been asked frequently about the state of the industry as people search for the worst.
Though newspaper media is enjoying the largest audiences ever as well as continuing to play a unique and critical role in our communities, there is one fact that always tends to be obscured or outright ignored – newspapers are still making money and newspapers remain a good investment.
A year ago at this time, John Henry and Jeff Bezos made high-profile acquisitions of The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, respectively, which confirmed that newspapers are viable investment options with the ability to grow. Earlier this month, The Washington Post announced record web traffic for July as well as hiring more than 60 people in the first seven months of the year.
A company hiring 60 people in seven months sounds like a healthy one to me.
This summer, the newspaper industry has seen a wave of spin-offs, with Tribune and Gannett both forming publishing-only companies. E.W. Scripps and Journal Communications spun their combined publications off into a new company, Journal Media Group. This is an exciting time for the newspaper industry as these companies will now devote their undivided attention to their publications.
However, as with the investments last year, these spin-offs have been spun into more gloom and doom for the industry. It is simply not accurate.
In fact, buried in the depths of one particular article that signaled the death of newspapers is this gem of a sentence: "Newspapers continue to generate cash and solid earnings."