The decline of the journalism business is not being driven by a lack of interest in the news, which is robust, but by the collapse of the advertising-based model that has traditionally paid for news gathering. The problem began two decades ago, when papers started losing classified ads to digital sites like Craigslist and eBay. To compete, print outlets built extensive web operations to tap the growing digital advertising market—only to see that market cornered by two monopolistic tech platforms. By 2018, Google and Facebook were sucking up 58 percent of all digital advertising revenues at the national level, and 77 percent in local markets, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Facebook and Google haven’t monopolised the classifieds. They have taken the display business but that was a different revenue stream for the newspapers anyway. It’s Monster.com, e-Bay (as stated), Craigslist (ditto), Glassdoor and all the rest which have taken the classifieds.
Therefore, if a solution is necessary, it’s one that involves e-Bay, Monster and so on, right?
But if you really want to know what’s going on here:
The Washington Monthly would like to thank Knight Foundation for sponsoring this special issue.
The Knight Foundation being the charitable arm of Knight Ridder – or at least very closely connected – and KR own lots of traditional newspapers.