The beginning of the end for newspapers

Fairfax Media job cuts have left the newspaper industry shaken.

Fairfax, Sydney, Melbourne, The Age, SMH, newspapers

The news that 1900 staff at Fairfax Media are to lose their jobs has left the newspaper industry shaken. Given that this announcement is likely to be followed by a similar one from News Limited, the writing is on the wall (or behind the paywall) for the printed news.

Printed newspapers are simply no longer financially viable. Gone are the days when news titles are supported by classified advertising, and national advertising clients want the immediacy and measurability of an online presence. Printing costs in Australia have soared in recent years and while periodic titles have been able to take advantage of cheaper overseas printing costs, this is not possible for a daily title.

So, where does this leave Australians looking for news updates? Paying for content which has for years been free online. Anyone who has recently tried to read an article on a News Limited site, such as the Herald Sun or The Australian, will have no doubt been frustrated by a couple of teaser lines available before you have to login to see more. This is the newspaper of the future. While currently there is no charge and there are ways to get around the paywalls, this will soon be a thing of the past.  As the practice becomes more widespread, you will have to pay for the privilege of reading the news online.

I am one of the millions of people worldwide who gets their news updates online. No longer do I reach for the hard copy printed newspapers to see what’s going on in the world. Very rarely do I even sit down to catch the news on television. News is now available instantly at my fingertips, via computer, iPad or smartphone. However, am I prepared to pay for something which has always been free? I’m not so sure, but will I have any other option? It seems not.

If readers are expected to pay to be able to read the news online, will they simply stop trying to find out what is going on in the world? There is the belief that if everyone charges, then everyone will simply have to pay, but this may not be the case. The internet is a marvellous tool and there will always be many who believe that information on the net should be free. Sure, you may have to wait for the free news to be uploaded, or search a little harder to find what you’re looking for, but if you’re not having to pay, won’t this be worth the effort?

So, to Fairfax Media and News Limited, good luck with your new business plan, I hope it works out for you. But to those clever internet bloggers and content sites, get your fingers at the ready, you’re going to be busy!

Will you be happy to pay for your news online rather than buying newspapers? Or will you simply look for free options?

Is there a future for newspapers?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Jun 2012
    It's sad to think of newspapers dying out, but I guess it's inevitable.

    Like many, I suspect, I don't buy newspapers any more. I try to recycle the free, locally-produced papers that are thrown onto my lawn three times a week, but I rarely read those either.

    The thought of paying for news is not pleasant and not a line item in my very tight budget. I guess radio and TV will have to be my default sources when that happens.
    19th Jun 2012
    All I can see is positives for no more newspapers. We still have the news, and always online news, papers etc.

    I guess those who do not have computers will just have to settle for TV news or radio.

    Can't help thinking how many more trees this will leave in the world on the very positive side!
    19th Jun 2012
    Like many I haven't bought a newspaper for years, and keep up with what's going on in the world via the internet. There is no way I would pay to read it on line.It was inevitable this would happen, the bottom line of course is money.
    No doubt there will be many avenues, if one takes the time, and is able to search the internet, to read the news including news from overseas, and of course there's radio and television to keep up with whats going on.
    Yes the Herald Sun is already charging, I believe nearly $3 a week, doesn't sound much does it, but I sure can put that $150 a year to much better use.
    19th Jun 2012
    No papers for years here also philary, and it is easy enough to get the news via my homepage every time I access the isnternet. Other than that the news is on TV a lot each day.

    The only thing I may miss is the classifieds - rarely though, and I also won't pay to read it online.
    19th Jun 2012
    whoops, internet that is!!
    19th Jun 2012
    Never buy a paper,television,radio tells us news,I have seen so much garbage written in papers about victims of crime
    19th Jun 2012
    Agree wholeheartedly with you bluemoon. One has only to look at the Sunday papers, they are full of scandal, gossip and the latest on who slept with whom, who said what, and opinionated columnists. Watch SBS if you really want to know the news, and keep up with what's going on in the world

    19th Jun 2012
    I only purchase one Sunday newpaper, preferring to watch different versions of news stories on the box.
    I changed from The Sun Herald (NSW) to The Sunday Telegraph just recently when the former changed it's format and, to me, became difficult to read; some parts because the print became too small, my favourite reads disappeared and there was more sport; I was recycling 3/4 of the paper without reading.. what a waste. What has now happened concerning that particular newspaper doesn't surprise me.
    25th Jun 2012
    Tv is a struggling industry as well. One day will see them begin to fold.

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