Mainstream Media: Takes a licking, but keeps on ticking (online, at least)

posted by Brendan Hodgson

An article in today’s Globe & Mail re-affirmed that while North American readers/viewers of traditional media may be jumping ship, they’re not travelling very far afield:

…the websites established by the 100 biggest papers increased their total audience by about 8 per cent over the same period, according to research from the Newspaper Association of America released Monday. Some papers managed Web-audience gains of more than 20 per cent among 25 to 34-year-olds — the demographic group that analysts say are most deserting printed newspaper products.

So does this mean the much-ballyhooed demise of the mainstream media is simply a fantasy concocted by punchdrunk bloggers? Or is it more a realization that even as we spend more time online and expand our choices for where we get information, we still recognize the importance of professional journalists and the merits of a fair and balanced (note that I do not say “unbiased”) media. 

Granted, as business models change, so too might the more traditionally-styled newsroom go the way of the dinosaur – so, it’s likely we’ll still see major liposuction happening across the media sector. NBC’s recently announced re-structuring is probably the most visible sign of what’s to come. And from a traditionalist point of view – given that I enjoy reading the Saturday paper with coffee – it’s encouraging to see the circulation of some Canadian papers actually on the rise - but I can’t imagine this being anything other than an anomaly.

But will it die altogether… I don’t think so… because, other than politicians, who else is there to pick on?



Jonathan Dunn

Good points. I think what we’ll see is better integration of traditional & new media.

We’ve already seen the Toronto Star publish an online-only PM edition and other print media are beefing up their online offerings (integrating video, blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc…).

The goal will be to establish deeper interaction with their readers and foster a sense of community (sounds familiar doesn’t it). Different media properties will provide unique content and delivery options, but give the reader the option to satisfy all their needs(including Sunday morning coffee sessions)through a single provider.

ps. Brendan, I’ve moved my blog if you want to update your blogroll.



Brendan Hodgson

Thanks Jonathan,

I agree. The notion of community is an important element – whether it be regional, philosophical, or via some other ‘demographic’ – that will also help sustain the mainstream media. It is already emerging as a useful "collective commons" as we’re seeing with publications like the Globe who are adding comment/feedback features to each story.


And I will correct the blogroll first thing in the morning. Thanks for the tip.



maggie fox

Great post, Brendan, and I agree with you completely (and Shel Holtz, too, for that matter). New Media does not "kill" Old Media, Old Media simply adapts, which is what we’re seeing right now.

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