Chihak: Let talk of demise rest in peaceby Michael A. Chihak on Mar. 29, 2008, under Opinion
“Newspapers are still far from dead, but the language of the obituary is creeping in.” Introduction to The State of the News Media 2008
Doom and gloom. That’s what seems to emerge from a reading of The State of the News Media 2008.
The annual study is conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The dour assessment came in review of the U.S. newspaper industry for 2007: Average daily circulation across the country fell 2.5 percent; advertising revenue fell 7 percent; profits declined across the spectrum of newspaper companies.
You might think it hard for us to keep smiling.
But smiling we are, because evidence is that while newspapers must evolve even faster, they remain the dominant information sources in society.
For example, Tucson’s daily newspapers and our adjunct publications, including the Web sites, reached 70 percent of adults in the Tucson area over 30 days, according to the independent Scarborough Research study for 2006-07, the latest reporting period available.
That is by far the widest and deepest reach of any media group in southern Arizona.
There’s even more hopeful news, from The State of the News Media report:
“Online audience and revenues again are both up substantially. . . . Moderately optimistic analysts now think the growth could equal print revenue losses within two to three years, which would constitute welcome equilibrium.”
The Tucson Citizen’s most rapid growth for several years, in fact, is online. The raw numbers tell it: 2 million page views monthly and growing. More significant is the Scarborough Research report showing that local usage of the Citizen Web site rose 29 percent in 2007.
Seven of 10 Tucson adults have Internet access, and thus we have only one direction to go in audience change – up.
We have the goods and are headed up on many fronts:
• Tucsoncitizen.com already has the best local breaking news service, beating all other media on most stories. Nearly two dozen of our reporters and photographers are equipped with laptop computers to send information from remote locations. That means our coverage will get only better and faster.
• We have the deepest and best archives of government finance and employment information, in our KNOWledge Net database. Take a look.
• Tucsoneventscalendar.com on our Web site is Tucson’s richest calendar of events in more than 30 entertainment and activities categories.
• Tucsoncitizen.com/tcvarsity is the best high school sports Web site in southern Arizona.
• Our photographers daily shoot and post dozens of news and features photos. All are archived, giving you access to the best visual record of Tucson news and happenings.
• We have the deepest archive of local music video performances. We soon will introduce a better video tool.
In summary, the Tucson Citizen as a local news and information entity is here to stay. No obituary language need be considered.
Reach Michael A. Chihak at 573-4646 or firstname.lastname@example.org