Express-News reader Jamie Blount might have shown us the future of newspapers in this letter to the editor today:
While I don’t like the dismal news about how newspapers have fallen on hard times, I like the way the San Antonio Express-News has confronted the problem. I read the complete edition of the SAEN online Monday through Thursday and then read the print edition Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This arrangement gives me the flexibility to keep up with the news in ways that are conducive to both my work and personal schedules.
While I-10 replaced U.S. 90, the airplane replaced the train and TV replaced radio, people continue to use those old modes of travel and communication. Probably, the same could be said about the Internet replacing the newspaper. The old reliable is still in use because it offers attractive, viable alternatives to the modern.
Blount makes an interesting point. Weekends are when a lot of people have time to sit down and fully digest the newspaper. Weekdays, not so much. But online traffic spikes. An Associated Press story today examined how newspapers are cutting back print operations on less profitable days such as Mondays, when advertising is thin.
“In an industry struggling with bankruptcy filings, diminished advertising and the exodus of many readers to the Internet, about 100 U.S. newspapers have either reduced the number of days they publish or gone to the Web entirely,” wrote reporter Jim Salter. This is not entirely a bad thing, the story says, since the newspapers save money from reduced production costs. The papers publish later in the week with editions that are their real cash cows.
So maybe Blount is on to something.