It’s not just print vs. digital. It’s also comprehensive vs. selective.
In the shadow of today’s major upheaval at the Los Angeles Times, it’s worth remembering that the turmoil enveloping the traditional side of the newspaper business has a fair amount in common with the “cord cutter” challenges facing the cable TV industry. Once upon a time, it made sense for the entire family to get news reading material – politics, local, international, sports, entertainment, business – in one, bundled, trusty form.
Today, an increasing number of those family members have zero need to consume information the full-plate way. The world has essentially caught up to the guy who would once avidly pick up the paper off the front porch and chuck everything but the sports section.
In this age of news appetites being more efficiently and narrowly channeled, how do newspapers combat the trend? There’s certainly no shortage of attempts being made on the digital end, from Jeff Bezos’ ambitious national product plans with the Washington Post to various flavors of metered paywalls.
But at the print end, the front porch is being abandoned by millennials almost as resolutely as the nearby TV room. Cord cutters are also porch jumpers, and there’s not much grandpa, grandma and people like 55-year-old exiting LA Times publisher Austin Beutner can do about it.
[Photo: Chuck Wagner/Shutterstock.com]