Wednesday, November 23, 2005

NEWSPAPERS: Editor lists 10 reasons why they'll survive

The editor of the Modesto, Calif., Bee daily, lists 10 reasons why he
thinks newspapers will survive the marketplace turmoil that is chilling
advertising revenues and raising uncertainty about what will pay for

Source: Mark Vasche, The Modesto Bee,, 578-2356
Mark Vasché, The Bee's editor and senior vice president, may be reached at

10. Newspapers have been around for 400 years. And, for about 399 years,
give or take a few months, people have been predicting their demise. In my
lifetime alone, radio was going to do newspapers in; then television; and
now the Internet.

9. While circulation has declined industrywide, newspapers remain by far
the dominant way people get news and information. The Bee's share of the
market dwarfs any local radio, TV or Web outlet.

8. Newspaper readership has slipped, but radio, TV and even the Internet
are struggling even more, because of fragmentation and other factors. How
many radio and TV stations and Web sites do you have to choose from?

7. People always have and always will need news and information that can
help them make decisions, large and small, in their daily lives. That's as
true now as ever. And no one is better equipped and experienced to do that
than the local news company.

6. A historical function of the press is what's called the "watchdog" role
. monitoring public officials and agencies, and making sure the public's
business is conducted in public. Arguably, that's needed now more than
ever. And, again, who is better equipped and experienced to do that than
the local news company?

5. Even with the challenges, newspapers in general are very successful and
profitable businesses, and will continue to be so . as long as they take
their public service function seriously, apply sound business practices
and adapt to changes in the demographic, lifestyle and economic landscape.
The best of the best . starting with the McClatchy Co. . know that good
journalism is good business.

4. Just as technology is reshaping how we get information, so it is
reshaping how news organizations gather, organize, present and deliver it.
Companies like The Bee are transitioning from being newspaper companies to
being news and information companies, using a variety of platforms to
deliver what people need and want.

3. While the print product is the core of The Modesto Bee business, already is the leading local Web site and is helping readership
and revenue to grow at an impressive rate. We're in the process of fully
integrating the printed Bee with to provide continuous news and

2. The newspaper of tomorrow most likely will be quite different from
today's Bee . in content and appearance . just as today's is a far cry
from The Bee I joined in 1970. In fact, tomorrow's paper may not be
"paper" at all, but a flexible, foldable, paper-thin material onto which
information is downloaded to appear and be read like a traditional paper.

1. Finally, new is not always better. We may have the world at our
fingertips, but there's something special, something personal about being
able to hold what you're reading in your hands. When you curl up with a
good book at the beach or in bed, there's a wonderfully personal and
physical connection between you and those words on the page. It's
something you just don't get with fingers on a keyboard.

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