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Newspaper Readership Decline Rethought

In a long, detailed explanation of how newspaper readership needs to be rethought, Jennifer Saba writes in Editor & Publisher that readers are still there, they simply have migrated to reading the papers' content on alternate platforms. Getting one's hands filthy by picking up an actual paper is clearly going out of style. On the other hand, she says, newspaper content remains of value, as demonstrated by the rise in online readership. Saba quotes Jay Smith, chairman of the Newspaper Association of America, as saying, "We have for years allowed ourselves to be held hostage to one metric only {i.e., paid circulation]. Newspapers have for the last couple of years been finding whole new pockets of audiences for which they get no credit." The suggestion, made by some in the industry, is that newspapers must begin thinking (and promoting themselves) in terms of "total audience," meaning those who read newspaper content anywhere it can be found. It's not clear if this perspective will hold much water with advertisers, nor even if it has genuine merit. It's a work in progress, according to the E&P piece.



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