Editors Point To Endurance Of Print

Editors have pointed to the continued endurance of print and the desire for the “breadth, depth and expertise” of long-form journalism published by newspapers in response to relentless flow of “facile and flippant, free” information through social networks.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show titled ‘Print is dead. Long live print’ yesterday, newspaper editors pointed to examples of circulation increases and national print ad revenues as evidence of the continued endurance of print.

Speaking to host Amol Rajan, Metro editor Ted Young said his print advertising revenue was up this year, adding: “And we are not alone, I think there are several newspapers who are saying actually ad revenue is up.”

Talking about the continued endurance of print, Mr Young said: “I think was Axel Springer’s CEO who said books have not replaced storytelling, newspapers have not replaced books, radio has not replaced newspapers and television has not replaced radio, it follows that the internet will not replace television or newspapers.”

He added: “A paper is so easy to read. If it had been invented in Silicon Valley you would all be saying it’s fantastic – you don’t need to download it, you can sit on it and the screen won’t break, you don’t need a battery and you can skip around.”    

Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell said the TLS has experienced a substantial growth of between 20 and 25 per cent year-on-year in paid-for sales. He added: “I honestly believe that we are experiencing a counterculture in this country and around the world.

“If everything is facile and flippant, free, Facebook is the governing controller of how we consume information and lots of stuff is blipped at us very, very quickly there must be a counterculture that responds to that, people who value breadth and depth and expertise.

“We consume at two speeds, we consume very, very quick, so a free paper like the Metro which summarises things brilliantly is really useful, and then we want to consume at a slower more reasoned speed as well.”

Also speaking on the programme, The Times media correspondent Matthew Moore said that publishers were focussed upon making high quality journalism commercially sustainable and were trying different models to achieve this.

He said: “Our subscriptions are going up month on month and they recently just passed 500,000 and interestingly, for the first time, more Times subscribers take out digital-only subscriptions than take out print subscriptions.

“I don’t think most newspaper editors or chief operating officers at news groups care how people get their content, whether they see it online or in a paper, all they care about is that the production of quality news is commercially viable.

“And there is heartening evidence both from say The Times and the FT’s subscription models, MailOnline and Sun online in mass market online productions, Guardian in asking for contributions from readers.

“There are a patchwork of different revenue models for news groups now, we are just seeing now which work and which are most likely to be successful, but I don’t think there’s a single magic bullet for funding newsgathering in the future.”