Decreasing Newspaper Readership
Newspapers are nothing without readers: no argument here.
“They are the reason we produce the paper in the first place,” Noah Bombard, editor of The Beacon in Acton, said.
Many newspapers across the country have had yearly decreases in readership and circulation numbers for years. These decreases have added up causing newspaper editors to worry.
“We’ve lost 5,000 subscribers in the last decade. That’s not unusual,” James H. Smith, executive editor, The Record-Journal in Meriden, Conn., said.
Ten years ago, the Record-Journal’s subscribers totaled 30,000; today the paper has 25,000, Smith said.
The bad news doesn’t seem to be ending for newspapers. Research conducted in the area of readership is only echoing what newspapers have known all along: newspapers are losing readers.
“Nationwide newspaper circulation peaked in the 1970s,” David Solomon, editor of The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H, said. Studies conducted of American newspapers today show that readership is traveling down a continuously steady downward spiral.
According to the recent “The State of the News Media 2005” report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism: “‘Newspaper circulation is in decline,’ the inaugural edition of this report declared a year ago…it's clear that things are worse than people thought.”
The problem is newspapers can’t afford to lose readers because they are nothing without their readers.
“Without readers, a paper would have no value, no audience, no purpose,” Solomon said.
When newspapers lose readers they also lose advertising. Without advertising, newspapers lose their greatest source of income and papers have no way of paying the high costs of production. And without a product newspapers are not...
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... of topics,” “The State of the News Media 2005” said.
And not everyone is ditching the newspaper for the screen. There are still some readers who consider newspapers the only source for news.
“There is evidence that more people are reading the newspaper at work or in settings like coffee shops and waiting rooms and that the demographic groups newspapers have a harder time reaching, like women and young people, are well represented among occasional readers of this kind,” “The State of the News Media 2005” said.
“I’m not convinced people are reading on the Internet. Baby-boomers, I think, they’re the ones still reading the actual paper and they’re the majority. It’s just not an efficient way of reading the paper,” Van Wormer said.
“They should research how a paper feels. It’s like fine bookkeeping. That will keep the newspaper above other media,” Van Wormer said.