It’s never pleasurable when we report on the decline of the newspaper industry. We always heave a heavy sigh, pick up the pen…urgh laptop, and start writing. According to The Australian Business, Robert Thomson, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, might actually be doing a happy dance every time he reads our reports.
So far this year at least four major US newspapers have closed or moved entirely online, hit by a near one-third decline in advertising revenue, which has made it more difficult to service their large debts. But that does not faze Thomson, who sees the demise of others as an opportunity for The Wall Street Journal.
“I think we are benefiting from that. One of the reasons our core circulations are rising so strongly is because papers around America are diminishing,” he says.
“And whether it’s in San Francisco or Los Angeles or Detroit, it creates a tremendous opportunity for us to gain readers who are increasingly internationally aware and also aware of their need to be well informed about the world.”
After he drinks a toast to their demise, he does also go on to note that these times are creating new and innovative ways for news to be published. From digital to mobile we know the industry is changing in unimaginable ways. Just the other day we learned that it would be cheaper for the New York Times to send every print subscriber a Kindle versus printing and delivering the paper to their doorstep (thanks Silicon Alley Insider). All this is to say, there is an upside to the downturn, the opportunity for growth and change.