Poynter's Rick Edmonds: Newspaper Expenditures Drop $1.6 Billion Since 2006

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Poynter Institute Media Business Analysts Rick Edmonds said Tuesday that newspapers are spending an average of $1.6 billion less on their overall news coverage since 2006.

Using a reference to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol at an FTC conference on the state of journalism, Edmonds said that the newspaper industry is in a similar state to Tiny Tim, though he added that he does not think the industry would die out.

Edmonds highlighted what he said were three main problems hurting newspapers, the first being that Internet competitors have taken away much of newspapers' classified advertising revenue.

He also said that there has been no orderly transition from print to online formats from advertisers, and that the deep recession caused by the financial crisis has also hurt news papers, adding that, by the end of the year, ad revenues will have declined 45 percent in the past three years.

Edmonds went on to say that, despite shrinking news space and shrinking coverage of the arts and metro coverage, he said that the current state of the newspaper industry is not hopeless.

The analyst said that price increases at most newspapers have been well received, as have charges for online subscriptions, and that such price changes should increase revenue for newspapers.

He added that newspapers need to sharpen their focus on what they do uniquely well, and that the country needs more papers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, which provide news coverage to consumers worth paying for.

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