Is there hope for newspapers? Recode’s Noah Kulwin isn’t optimistic. Taking a look at a New York Magazine story concerning Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post, he notes the Post has been producing some great journalism (such as this story about Donald Trump’s charitable donations) but the writing seems to be on the wall for newspapers who aren’t fortunate enough to have a billionaire bankrolling their money-losing journalistic ventures.
As the print subscriptions that are the Post’s and other papers’ mainstay dwindle, the outlook seems pretty grim. The Post is hoping to find alternative sources of revenue, such as licensing and selling its content management system, launching a digital ad agency, and publishing content for mobile audiences—but even with Bezos’s backing, the paper is still pretty far from solid financial ground.
Of course, as Kulwin points out, the Post has a pretty substantial safety net:
The upside is that the Post is owned by one of the wealthiest people on the planet in Jeff Bezos, who’s worth nearly $60 billion and believes that journalism is in the public interest. Even though Bezos has already gutted pensions and reportedly indicated that further budget cuts aren’t out of the question, the Post is obviously not going away anytime soon.
But most other papers don’t have that kind of safety net—and if the Post is having a hard time even with Bezos’s backing, what future remains for the rest of the industry? In the current landscape of rampant ad-blocking and minimal web revenue, finding a good revenue stream will remain tricky.
(Photo by Esther Vargas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.)