Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Can This Business Be Saved?

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Can This Business Be Saved?

Article excerpt

THE SOURCE: "Online Salvation?" by Paul Farhi, in The American Journalism Review, Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008.

THE BELEAGUERED NEWSPAPER industry, losing subscribers and advertisers like spring runoff down a steep mountain, has built a solid presence on the Interact and is banking on Web advertising to secure its future. But while such revenue has more than doubled in the past four years, it may be too weak a financial platform to support the heavy costs of old media.

After years of healthy increases, the Internet audience is barely growing, and while newspaper websites draw a lot of traffic, visitors click on the sites to glimpse the offerings, rather than ponder them. The typical visitor to nytimes.com, a site that attracts more than 10 percent of the industry's Internet customers, spends about 68 seconds a day reading the paper online. And that is afar more leisurely visit than the typical newspaper site receives, notes Patti Farhi, a reporter for The Washington Post who writes frequently about the media.

The buoyant growth in Web advertising that has sustained the hopes of newspaper publishers in recent years has begun to evaporate. The rate of advertising growth started on a downward slide in 2007, and a worsening economy means the decline will likely continue. …

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