Today, the New York Times Company nearly killed its esteemed New England newspaper, The Boston Globe. The paper was saved from the brink of extinction by severe negotiations with newspapering unions, which agreed to company-wide paycuts in order to stabilize the Globe‘s bottom line. The Times’ is also requiring its own staffers to take a mandatory five percent paycut. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun laid off 61 staffers and late last week, Conde Nast folded it’s business lifestyle magazine, Portfolio. And Best Life shuttered last week.
Every other day, there’s news of the latest media outlet to bite the dust. These are trying times in every industry, but it seems like this really could become a period of redefintion in the media business. More and more, as print publications close their doors, media pundits point to online as the future of media. But new media types are still working out the kinks on how to make the web profitable. After all, every Tom, Dick or Sona can put out his or her shingle online and call themselves new media. Will newspapers and magazines survive the slaughter?
As a reformed magazine junkie, I have to say that the men in suits are smart to worry. With the masses spending a large majority of their day on computers and the advent of Kindle even altering the way we read books, print is quickly becoming a relic. And though it’s hard to cuddle up in bed with a good laptop, life online certainly does streamline things. In fact, subscribing to an actual, physical newspaper seems like a charming throwback of a thing, something folks report on their Facebook when they do it. So it will be interesting to see how this print versus online saga plays out. In the meantime, you can sign up for my Writing for Print and Online class at Mediabistro.com if you’re interested in navigating the new wave.