Media execs discuss investment strategies, importance of strong newsrooms 3/6/18

By Cindy Durham, assistant executive director, SNPA

Link below includes 3-minute video clip.

The importance of the newsroom and of newspapers publishing engaging, relevant, local news was emphasized again and again by media executives on the "Investing in Newspapers" panel at the recent Key Executives Mega-Conference.

Over the last 13 years, the newspaper industry has lost more than 1,400 newspapers in the U.S. to closures, mergers and the downsizing of smaller free-standing newspapers that have become editions of larger regional ones, said Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair, Digital Media Economics, School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"We've lost more than 1,000 newspapers," she said, "but the decline in circulation has been even more dramatic. It's been halved. Total print circulation – that includes all weeklies and dailies – has declined from 117 million to 67 million, the biggest drop coming in dailies."

She said, "The average print circulation of a daily newspaper in 2018 is 20,000. Since 2004, more than a third of all newspapers have changed hands and about half of them have changed hands two times or more."

When calculcated based on the number of newspapers (not on the circulation of those papers), she said the top 25 companies own a third of the nation's newspapers and control about 50 percent of print circulation.

Three of those companies – Adams Publishing Group, Hearst and AIM Media Management – were among the conference panelists.

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