‘Experts’ wrong about newspapers

Even before I was born – let alone when I started in the newspaper industry – there have been those self-anointed “experts” proclaiming the imminent demise of newspapers.

When radio first hit the airwaves, those so-called “experts” said that new technology would kill the old technology and newspaper would cease to exist. After all, they proclaimed, everyone will have a radio and its news will be instantaneous. But not everyone had a radio and the news wasn’t as immediate back then as touted.

Then it was when the electronic image box first started appearing in living rooms did the experts again shout the pending death of newspapers because TV news could and would give the public all the news they wanted or needed in a 30 minute broadcast and viewers could see the news happening. Well, the newscasts were at specific times of the day when viewers might or might not be watching their TV and the broadcasts were, at best, a recap of the day’s activity.

Most recently it has been the Internet the “experts” loudly and repeatedly claim will end the dying industry of newspapers, failing to mention that most of the reliable, verifiable information on the Internet comes from newspapers.

I have “news” for the so-called “experts,” the newspaper industry has survived for the more than 40 years I’ve been in it and will survive into the future because it is a product people want and can read where ever and whenever they wish, and newspapers have adapted and embraced changing technology, including the Internet.

Let’s take a lot at some verifiable statistics compiled by the Newspaper Association of America:

* 101 million American adults read a newspaper in print or online every weekday;

* 56 percent of 18-24-year-olds read a newspaper in print or online each week;

* Nearly 70 percent of adults read a newspaper each week;

* 36 percent of adults who claimed they did not read a newspaper in the past week, actually did use one;

* $3.2 billion is the total web ad revenue recorded by newspapers in 2011;

* 79 percent of U.S. adults took action on a newspaper ad in a 30-day period;

* 110 million unique visitors went to a newspaper website in August 2012;

* $24 billion was spent by advertisers in U.S. newspapers in 2011;

* $10 billion is the amount consumers spent on buying newspapers in 2011;

* 15 percent of newspaper revenue now comes from digital platforms;

* 28 million adults access a newspaper on a smartphone or tablet a month;

* 110-plus newspapers with a tablet app.

Doesn’t sound to me as if newspapers are dying, let alone dead, as the “experts” keep hoping their listeners will believe.

The so-called “experts,” need to recognize the newspaper industry always has adapted and embraced new technology and will continue to do so, thus keeping newspapers strong, viable and relevant in today’s faster-paced, news-driven, need-to-know society.

After all, if newspapers are dead, what are you reading right now!

Contact Jim Smith at jsmith@newsandsentinel.com