Are Print Media and Traditional News Dead?

We had a client ask us last week if print media is dead. We have another client whose business sole purpose is to replace traditional news with user-based news that is controlled by the public. Everywhere you look newspaper offices are closing their doors, magazines (Like Rolling Stone) are becoming considerably thinner, and people are much more inclined to look at their laptops and smartphones rather than newspapers or magazines. Many advertisers are wondering if it’s still worth it to post an ad on a print newspaper, or if online is the only way to go.

Does this mean that print media and traditional news are dead? Not yet. As youve probably heard, Central Texas (which is where our office is located) is currently battling huge fires which have burned thousands of homes, acres, businesses, and schools around the area. It was an interesting case study to see where people where getting their news updates about the blaze.

Obviously, people werent waiting for the dailies or weeklies to fly on their doorstep to get the latest news. This old media was helpful in uncovering a lengthier, more detailed account than most web sources, but it simply is not fast enough. The places people where people were swarming to get fire updates were online news, like YNN.Com, Community Impact News, and others. CIN is hyper-local news; they have different editions in different offices all in and around Austin. Theyve found a niche: online news is updated 24/7 that is specific to small areas. Theyre very active on Facebook and Twitter, and their paper is actually sent to everyones mailbox weekly, free of charge. Theyve changed with the times, so they are alive and well in this new media/anti-corporate news world.

YNN.com is also a local news company that updates the news on their site hourly (sometimes even minutely), 24/7. Theyve evolved as well, and according to my sources, their online traffic has soared during the recent fire breakouts. Same with CIN, a friend of mine who works there told me that their Facebook and Twitter fan bases have tripled over the past week.

So what does this mean? Print and Traditional media have indeed died, if they havent evolved. Smart news sources like CIN and YNN are well embedded with social media and consistent, factual online updates. Though YNN is not print, CIN has found a very interesting way to stay in the publics eyes through print media – by having their papers directly mailed to you whether you like it or not. Its suaveness like this that keeps these publications afloat, regardless if they are paper-made or digital.

So what does this mean to the ad buyer, should they still invest in print media? If its a paper like CIN, then sure. But bear in mind, though a print publication may be popular, you still cant target demographics and track results through a piece of paper as effectively as you can through PPC, Facebook advertising, or other online advertising. If that hurdle is ever jumped, then print will be resurrected.

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