Note the elision

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.

19 thoughts on “Note the elision”

  1. They know there is a demand for news but, like a German shopkeeper, insist on selling what the shopkeeper likes and to hell with the public.

    I want news not propaganda and lies, which, while amusing, are not news.

  2. Also the classifieds business was sunk years ago with papers such as Friday Ad, not to mention the free newspapers that used to be delivered house-to-house. Paid for local newspapers have been fighting a losing battle for decades.

  3. Paid for local newspapers have been fighting a losing battle for decades.

    Plus the BBC website local coverage removing the need to read local papers. Given that local papers regularly gleefully printed the names of those locals criminalised for TV licence evasion, I have to laugh.

  4. Running a classified ad in a major city newspaper used to be pretty expensive. I can remember running an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle in the early ‘80s to sell an old car. The ad was a couple of lines to keep the cost down, but it was still about $200 for a car that was sold for $650. Running a short employment ad would cost over $1,000, often quite a bit more. Warren Buffett once commented that the beauty of owning newspapers was that they got a cut of every transaction in town. That all changed with CraigsList, etc..

  5. ‘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.’

    Creepy propaganda. Which, in fact, is the cause of the decline of the journalism business. Loss of ad revenue is real, but turning hard left is why they have lost circulation. No one stops buying the paper because there are fewer ads.

  6. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    They know there is a demand for news but, like a German shopkeeper, insist on selling what the shopkeeper likes and to hell with the public.

    You ignore, insult and/or villify half of the adult population in the USA and then cannot understand why advertising thrives where you aren’t.

  7. “We have no choice. We are so poor, now that we have lost ad revenue, we have to be Left wing.”

    ‘This story is part of a package exploring how to rescue and revitalize journalism.’

    First, kill all the journalists.

    ‘It is equally hard to exaggerate how destructive this decline has been to the fabric and functioning of American democracy.’

    Yeah, somehow Donald Trump got elected.

    ‘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.’

    So print outlets made bad business decisions. Now, they want government to bail them out.

    ‘Journalists, however, are understandably hesitant to consider fixes that might involve the use of government resources or power when it’s their job to hold the government accountable.’

    Socialists don’t want more government. Ha ha ha ha.

  8. The decline of the journalism business is not being driven by a lack of interest in the news

    If people are so interested in what they have to sell, why is no-one buying it?

  9. Agreed, TD. But I would challenge the media’s notion that the internet stole their customers. Media chased their customers away. Pure decadence.

  10. To some extent I agree, but the loss of ad revenue was damaging to many. Nevertheless, it is true that a lot of old line media just isn’t worth paying attention to these days.

    In any event, customers are not possessions. They can’t be stolen.

  11. Credit to the Tel this morning. An obituary that’s worth reading; four letters and two articles that I’ll cut out; a couple of amusements beyond those; and a remark in the medical column that I’ll follow up on line.

  12. “No one stops buying the paper because there are fewer ads.”

    Yeah, but, ut I bought Exchange & Mart for the ads

  13. Journalism is changing. More citizen journalists doing the reporting on the front line of their local area or expertise. The ease at which people can find them on the internet and the cheapness of being able to have an internet presence means that funding can come direct from the people via patreon et al.

  14. “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.”

    Do these people understand that knocking out Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon isn’t going to bring the past back?

    If Facebook didn’t exist, we’d still be running on blogs with RSS or local forums. Maybe we’d have 20 or 30 companies doing ad platforms for those blogs, perhaps less clever ones than Google, but what’s important is that the eyeballs will have moved from the old media.

    But really, Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay are the natural evolution. There’s a lot of goods that can be sold as warehouse items, regardless of what they are, whether it’s a tub of lube, a blu-ray or a hammer drill.

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