Newspapers Dying: The demise of geographic exclusivity

There are so many reasons why print newspapers are failing. Mostly, people complain that newspaper content is available on the Internet for free, so subscribers need not subscribe any longer, even though in reality circulation revenues were usually not more than 20% of total revenues. Or, more importantly, that classified advertising, the largest profit contributor of any newspaper, has been outdone by the efficiency of transactional web sites for homes, autos and jobs. Then there was the retail consolidation of big box stores, who hardly advertise, and chain department stores (only one advertiser rather than three or four). And the…

Leading the Way to Better News: The Role of Leadership in a World Where Most of the “Powers That Be” Became the “Powers That Were”

By Geoffrey Cowan Shorenstein Center Fellow, Fall 2007 University Professor and Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership, University of Southern California February 15, 2008 #D-44 © 2008 President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Published by Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy Discussion Paper Series Abstract During the past several years, as traditional news operations have faced sharp declines in circulation, advertising, viewership, and audiences, and as they have begun to make a seemingly unrelenting series of cuts in the newsroom budgets, scholars and professionals have been seeking formulas or models designed to reverse…

Boot Camp for Journalism Entrepreneurs

Last week, I was an instructor at the News Entrepreneur Boot Camp 2010 at USC. Sponsored by the Knight Digital Media Center, USC Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, theAnnenberg Center for Communication Leadership and Public Policy(CCLP), and the Online Journalism Review, the camp brought together about 20 aspiring entrepreneurs, almost all former journalists, who are trying to create new news/information enterprises in the digital world. If you'd like to watch a video of my session, click here [from the Knight Digital Media Center], or take a look at my power point slides [below]….

Cowan presents research on Public Policy and Funding the News at the Federal Trade Commission

CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan presented the center's latest research on Public Policy and Funding the News as part of a two-day Federal Trade Commission workshop exploring how the Internet has affected journalism, held March 9-10 at the FTC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Government Financial Support of News Media Continues Steep Decline, Adding to Financial Crisis in News Business

Government financial support that has bolstered this country's commercial news business since its colonial days is in sharp decline and is likely to fall further, according to a CCLP report released January 28, 2010. Because these cutbacks are occurring at the height of the digital revolution, they will have an especially powerful impact on a weakened news industry Public Policy and Funding the News is a unique effort to begin examining how involved the government, at all levels, has been in subsidizing news throughout American history to foster an informed citizenry; and what this support has meant for publishers, journalists…

U.S. Newspaper cutbacks erase 40 years of gains

TOKYO – Sometimes pictures really are worth a thousand words.  At year’s end, a dramatic chart published by Silicon Alley Insider was shared by email among journalists and former journalists showing just how much the newspaper industry has shrunk in the past decade. The graph measures newspaper employment, showing a steadily upward curve from 1947, when 230,000 people were employed at U.S. newspapers. The curve peaks in 1990 at almost double that number – just over 450,000 jobs at U.S. newspapers….

Two Newspaper Models: Microlocal success, large market challenges

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The latest evidence of financial viability of microlocal news comes from an article in the Wall Street Journal describing the Register-Star, a successful newspaper in Hudson, a town in Columbia County, New York. The formula is a familiar one: "a rich diet of local politics, education news, crime, school sports and people stories." And according to the Journal article, the Register-Star never relied on classified advertising as heavily as the major metro dailies, all of which have seen their classified ad revenue eviscerated by craigslist.com. But that's another blog; let's go back to the editorial side, to…

Newspapers as non-profits? Tax savings but some big downsides

Given the fact that many newspapers seem headed toward nonprofit status anyway, it's perhaps not surprising that someone would try to make it official. Legislation introduced this week by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland would enable newspapers to establish themselves as tax-exempt nonprofits and qualify for significant expense savings courtesy of Uncle Sam. Under the Cardin measure, they wouldn't have to pay income taxes on income derived from advertising sales. That's a big difference from existing IRS regulations, which customarily extract federal income taxes on advertising revenue derived by nonprofits. (There are a number of exceptions to this, including one…