Why Newspapers are in Trouble

The Newspaper Association of America’s annual meeting is on this week in San Francisco, so I thought it would be fun to search the event’s program for some keywords that bear on current technology trends and the newspaper industry’s Internet-induced struggles:

Term # mentions
Blog (or blogger/blogging) 0
RSS (or Atom/syndication) 0

To paraphrase physicist Richard Feynman after he dropped a piece of a space shuttle O-ring into some ice water and then shattered it on the table, “I believe that has some significance for the problem.”


  1. Susan Mernit says:

    Paul..I was there yesterday..and blogs came up…but….not much.

  2. If blogs didn’t exist, newspapers would still be in trouble. They were in trouble before blogs become popular. Blogs haven’t helped, that’s for sure. There are numerous factors that have been contributing to the downward trend of newspapers, but I don’t think blogs are at the top of the list of causes.

  3. Hey Brian —
    No argument from me — papers have more trouble than a bunch of bloggers, or their unwillingness to do full-text RSS. I say that with some fondness and as an insider, of course, having been a contributor to various major papers for almost a decade. The collapse of classifieds, for one, has ripped a hole in their income statements, and the rise of competing information sources with more currency hasn’t helped.
    But the preceding said, I still think that absence of blogs and RSS from the NAA agenda speaks volumes about the industry. Fundamentally, the newspaper business is stuck in the past — hey, it even has the word “paper” in the title — and its unwillingness to engage the present or the future by having serious discussions about technological change (i.e., bloggers and RSS) is symptomatic of that problem.