Goodbye Newspapers, You Arrogant Monopolistic Dinosaurs

It’s no secret eReleases works with newspapers. Many of our subscribing journalists are from newspapers. Many of our customers have received print in local and nationwide newspapers alike. I like newspapers. I still subscribe to my local newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, as well as to the Wall Street Journal.

Local Newspapers as Effective Monopoly

Many cities are one-newspaper towns, enjoying an effective monopoly for local print advertising as well as classifieds, specifically job ads. This has been a cash cow. Having placed a single, small job ad a decade ago in the Baltimore Sun and paid about $1,000, I knew the power that monopoly standing held. The equivalent ad space under Yard Sales would have cost me less than $30. Newspapers enjoyed that arrogant pricing for years with little competition. Just ask the local movie theater how much they pay for their listings. Likely, it’s near the high-end of your local newspaper’s tiered pricing.

The Internet Changed Things

Then the Internet blew into town and newspapers have never been the same.
It wasn’t overnight. Some newspapers begrudgingly posted their articles online and put their classifieds online. Most, however, never truly leveraged the power of the Internet community. It has been nearly a decade since the Internet reached a critical mass. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. Lots of companies, large and small, would beg to have a 10-year warning shot across the bow, giving them ample time to test, evolve or face the consequences.

Please Help This Community Asset Survive … Not!

Money is being passed out by the government like candy and newspapers are rumbling more than ever about possible closures, including threats that some cities would lose their only newspaper. It’s sad, but I have to say newspapers unable to make ends meet should close down. There should be no bailout for these dinosaurs. I suspect local blogs, alternative press, and even craigslist will fill the void created when these local giants fail.

Does the Richmond Times-Dispatch Get It?

Media General, parent of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, purchased last year for an undisclosed amount of money. averages 120,000 unique monthly visitors and nearly 2.7 million page views each month. More importantly, the site was well-monetized through ads and partnerships with local businesses. While the move seems smart on several fronts, the sad reality is that was able to achieve revenues and site traffic with little to no actual presence in the state of Virginia. Why did the Richmond Times-Dispatch have to purchase this asset rather than build its own?

Media Ecosystem

As the dinosaurs died out, so too will some newspapers. For a body count as well as list of those on life support, check out . However, there will be survivors. I suspect the media ecosystem will adjust and stabilize. The era of big newspapers in every town is shifting. Evolution is part of the natural order of business. The automobile boom of the 1920s had hundreds of automobile manufacturers in the United States. We’ve done fine with the big three for several decades and the future may show we’ll get along fine with just one or two domestic manufacturers competing against foreign automakers.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit:

3 Responses

  1. Ardith says:

    Mickie, you made my month. Your title and commentary are so spot on. Thank you, Ardith/Marketing Communications Think Tank

  2. Sara says:

    For your $1,000, you helped subsidize a core of journalists who went to school board meetings when you couldn’t, who scrutinized city budgets for waste, who pointed out when potholes went unfixed. You helped pay the journalists who checked the police reports for burglaries in your neighborhood, who let you know which special interests were underwriting which candidates, who raised the alarm when society’s most vulnerable lost their lives in the care of institutions meant to protect them.

    You got a heads up on important local developments that affected your family, your home, your neighborhood. You got news that would not have been broken by local bloggers, the alternative press, or on Craigslist. Why? Because reporting is hard, time-intensive work, and volunteers quickly lose enthusiasm for doing it unpaid.

    Newspapers have made mistakes. But if they go under, the reporters they employ no longer report on your town. And that’s a great loss to us all.

    And um, I can’t help wondering: Just who do you think is going to pick up your press releases?

  3. Madeleine says:

    Sara, well said. The LA Times just recently ran a series of stories how through their investigation of the CA State Board of Registered Nursing they discovered it was 3 years behind investigating incompetent nurses who often times were stealing drugs and endangering thousands of patients. The governor has since replaced most of the board, thanks to the LA Times reporting.

    Yes, we have our local TV stations, but they cannot report on stories as in depth as can a newspaper. The internet is just too vast. Getting one story in front of everyone as newspapers can do, and report it at length with back-up facts, is just not possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet. I design website, blogs, etc, but I sure would not want to reply on it solely for all my information. Anyone can post anything they want on the internet without checking out one single fact. Newspapers, for many reasons the most important being integrity (well, most papers) have to double check their facts, the photos must be photoshop free, if not, there is [email protected] to pay.

    If we are looking at this strictly as an advertising model, then I see Mickie’s point, and knowing the sad shape of the newspapers with dwindling circulation and loss of advertising, he is right that those that use ereleases do much better TARGETING their advertising. But losing our newspapers, especially on the local investigative level, will be tragic.

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