Looking Back at How the Newspaper Business Has Changed—and the Key to Staying Successful

From an interview with longtime newspaper publisher Jerry Pye in Connecting, a newsletter written by Paul Stevens for current and former AP journalists:

What’s the biggest change you witnessed in the newspaper business?

Computers are the biggest change, followed by the Internet. Computers helped the industry and the Internet is destroying the revenue base of newspapers. It started with loss of classified revenue and moved to other revenue sources. I remember seeing Hot Type as a teenager and now we are doing everything by computer and the internet. We do our stories and ads on a computer, layout our pages, send the finished pages to pre-press to print the paper. When I started in the business, kids were the primary way to deliver papers, now it is adults. Kids of today will never have the work experience of delivering papers as a first job.

I think that within 10 years, all but a few newspapers will be online viewed on our phones and other devices.

One of our keys to community newspaper success is having our footprint in both the print and digital world. In simple terms, digital first and print best. The great advantage that community newspaper have is that we cover the local news that you cannot get anywhere else.

Again, in simple terms, People, Faces and Places. People like to see their name in the paper; Faces – folks like to see their picture in the paper; and Places for that is what the what we do, cover the events and places of our community. This the key to our success.

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