Print Newspapers Still Dying A Slow Death

Print Newspapers Still Dying A Slow Death

We already know Australians don’t fancy the idea of paying for newspapers online. If the latest circulation figures are any guide, we don’t fancy paying for them in print much either.

Picture by jfeathersmith

Media blog Mumbrella notes that all but two major metropolitan dailies have seen circulation declines, as readers flock to alternative sources (which I’d posit are mostly online and mostly free). While the newspaper industry has cheerfully pointed out that the figures are in fact similar to what they were a decade ago, that’s not much consolation given that the population has grown by 17% over the same period.

My own print news habits have changed substantially in that period; indeed, I can’t remember the last time I actually paid for a paper. I often grab a newspaper to read on a plane, but it’s always a free copy. How do you interact with print news these days (if at all)? Tell us in the comments.

National and metro newspapers in biggest ever decline [Mumbrella]


  • I buy the paper for the TAB liftout on Saturdays. In fact I normally tell the newsagent to keep the rest of the paper which they most likely top and send back as unsold. I guess I’m simply paying for the specialised information then.

  • There are a few issues I have with print media.
    1. The SMH and The Age are printed on paper that is just too damn big. They are impossible to read on any form of public transport. They should be the size of the AFR and stapled.
    2. I actually like the idea of sitting down to breakfast each morning with the newspaper, but it’s not possible for me. I used to subscribe to the SMH 7 days a week precisely for that purpose, but I found most days I’d end up buying another copy from a newsagent. This is because I can’t stand the way they roll the newspapers and shrinkwrap them. They are impossible to unroll and the plastic leaves this weird residue. Give me a flat copy from a newsagent anyday.
    3. The quality of journalism is going downhill in my opinion. Mainstream papers, be they broadsheet or tabloid, are so focused on sensationalism and stuff that is basically not ‘news’. Those who are used to reading their news online no doubt get it from a variety of sources and not just from the online version of print media sites. Therefore the online experience benefits from the culmination of niche news providers rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that is inherent with daily print media.

    • Re: #2, hell yes. Reading a rolled up paper is impossible.

      Re: #3, how do papers get away with only 1-2 pages of “World News”?? And I thought the US was insular!

      • Re: #2 — Hell yeah! The plastic wrapping seems to be there to convenience the delivery agent who often just lobs the paper out of a moving car leaving the paper in one of various locations.

        I used to have the paper delivered in the UK because they didn’t wrap it and houses there have their mailboxes in the front door, meaning you can get your paper without having to get dressed… perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.

        I like physical newspapers, but the Australian delivery method sucks a big one and having to trek to the newsagent rather spoils the way I like my Sunday mornings so we each read the news online… which is not as nice as opening a nice, flat newspaper.

  • The only newspapers I buy these days are the sunday papers when they are giving away something interesting (like a tropfest DVD or something), and I occasionally buy the Australian Financial Review (because that IS a “pay to view” online) but not every week.

    For general news I find that its a lot easier to just go to or news and see all the important news online. Then if I want more information on a news item I just google it and more often than not find 1000 relevant news articles about it. FREE. Why would I want to buy a newspaper when I can do that?

  • While I have mostly given up print papers, the intrusive of the SMH advertising (I have to turn off my laptop’s sound because of popup flash clips) menas I may have to consider, if not print paper, a paid news service that respects my desire not to have ads

  • The quality of journalism is the main reason I have stopped reading papers.

    I have been closely following the climate change debate for example and I find the mainstream press’s treatment of the issue to be appalling.

    There are a hundreds of experts in the field, many of whom are very good writers, who are now keeping blogs and in general their analysis is far superior to those of the newspapers.

    If I have time to sit down and read a dead tree, I read a book.

  • Question

    Do you think newspapers will become more popular when e-readers become the new standard. If all you needed to do was sync your e-reader in the morning and you had the newspaper, would people read them?

    The cost of the paper at that time is another story, but they should be way cheaper coz there will be no paper, no new agent or transporting it.

  • I like reading a physical newspaper on the weekend, as its more for relaxation and general interest – I love the Age’s A2.

    But during the week? I just let news come to me through various rss feeds. It’s only snippets, but if I want to hear more, I take the time and look it up on the net.

  • These days the only time I buy newspapers is when I need to wrap something or start a fire. There’s just not enough interesting content in them, and its surprising how much space old newspapers can take up.

    E-readers seem like a much more eco-friendly alternative, and it’ll be easier to get rid of the other 25 pages of garbage that isn’t worth reading.

  • Notwithstanding the valid comments about the quality of journalistic content, comments were being sought on our interaction with print media.

    I bought my wife a Kindle for Xmas. It’s a brilliant device, easy to use and read, long battery life etc, but we’ve had to pretend we live in the US in order to get access to many books as Australian publishers are an archaic lot. You can get US Newspapers on it, but not Australian. Amazon will have to develop more cost effective wireless content delivery than the US$2 international roaming charge currently applied for wireless book delivery, for newspapers, as I don’t plan to plug the Kindle into the computer each morning.

    So get with electronic delivery so I don’t have to unwrap that bloody plastic, unroll the paper, or get cold and wet picking the damn thing up off the driveway each morning!!

    And can we easily read it whilst on public transport – YES WE CAN.

  • The 2 News Limited publications in Brisbane notified it’s readers this weekend of staff changes. Could this be likened to “a rearragement of the deck chairs on The Titanic” with the demise of the print media??

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