Mindy McAdams offers 10 simple facts about the survival of journalism.
“Newspapers were a nice business. Publishers could make the product insanely cheap (remember the penny press), and the advertising would cover the expenses, plus generate fantastic profits. However, this is clearly over. It’s done. It worked for a long time, but now, like trans-Atlantic leisure travel in big passengers ships, it will never work again.”
She’s encouraging us to skip over the obvious things that come up in the course of any well-meaning discussion about the future of newspapers and move on to the questions that haven’t been answered yet.
One note: I’ve been thinking lately about where to draw the line between newspapers that are doing fine in the current business model (smaller community newspapers with little competition, for example) and newspapers that have already been disrupted.
I work with small newspapers every day. In my brief experience doing so, I think the line seems to be right around 10,000 print circulation. That can vary, of course, but most papers smaller than that are going to be insulated from some of the cataclysmic changes in the industry.
Plus — to drive the metaphor deep underwater — smaller organizations are smaller boats, easier to turn around (or at least to change direction) when compared to the hulking major metros still chugging across the water.