The constantly shifting line
The news industry, like many other facets of our lives, is always changing. From the first newspapers and radio broadcasts, to the 24 hour news cycles we know today, there’s no denying that our thirst for information is stronger than ever.
However as our demand increases, so does the rush to “break” stories on the web via twitter and other such sites. According to a recent study, about half of digital news readers have received “breaking news” from these sites that has later turned out to be false. Most of these folks who “jumped the gun” were often working for offline news outlets like newspapers or TV Stations. Unfortunately in an attempt to stay relevant, many of these outlets are constantly trying to be first instead of being the most factual or informative.
That’s not even the worst part. Besides a waning interest in their product from individuals, advertising dollars have also sharply declined at many large publications. Several years ago, I can remember seeing the first banner ad across the bottom of the Democrat & Chronicle. Ads on the frontpage of a newspaper was, at least at one time, a big taboo in the print industry. However, that was just the beginning. They followed up over the years with things like little Post-It note ads stuck on the page, which is tacky…no pun intended.
This brings us to today and the worst offense yet. The front page wrap. It’s an ad that looks like the frontage of the paper, masthead and all, only it’s an ad. It’s a low point for the industry as a whole in my opinion. The D&C is not to blame either. They do what they think they must to stay alive. As do many other papers including USA Today and other giants. Even the little guys like the WaynePost this week had a 4 Page wrap about some goofy auction thing they’re running. So an ad for your own thing and a frontage wrap? Yikes, guys.
I can tell you we’ll never have an ad on our front page. My dad would never stand for it, and neither would I. Then again, we don’t have hundreds of people’s payroll at stake either. The choices that many organizations have to make each day would certainly be more than I could handle. I’ll take our business model any day of the week…oh and twice on Sundays, we get Sundays off.