Just when we newspaper journalists start to feel complacent, the folks at the Pew Research Center come out with another survey showing that print media is doomed.
OK, this latest survey doesn’t actually say that. But it provides yet more evidence that printed newspapers are becoming more of a niche product. Readers look online first for their news these days.
We already knew this, and if we didn’t, a quick look at The Columbian’s circulation figures would show that print subscriptions continue to fall as our digital subscriptions rise.
Nonetheless, the Pew study is interesting. It found 82 percent of U.S. adults say they often or sometimes get news from a smartphone, computer or tablet, including 49 percent who do so often. That compares with 64 percent who often or sometimes get TV news, 47 percent for radio and 33 percent for print.
When Pew asked its survey respondents where they prefer to get their news, 53 percent said digital devices. Only 5 percent said print.
Every time Pew does this survey, the percentage who want digital news increases. So clearly, this is where journalism needs to meet its audience.
Here’s another takeaway from the Pew survey, one that made me happy: News websites, apps and search engines are the preferred way to get news, as opposed to social media and other platforms that often contain unreliable — or just plain untrue — content. Still, half of Americans admit they get at least some news from social media.
A couple of final tidbits from the survey: The audience for TV and radio news is shrinking. News podcasts, where you listen or view a program on your own schedule, remain a niche product. (We offer a prep sports podcast.)
News about the newsroom
This week, we welcomed Nika Bartoo-Smith as our newest full-time reporter. Nika is a 2022 graduate of the University of Oregon who spend her summer interning at The News-Review in Roseburg, Ore. Nika will cover health and social services for The Columbian, with a bit of general assignment work, including nonprofits that don’t fall into our homelessness and affordable housing project.
Speaking of that project, one of our two community-funded reporters, Dylan Jefferies, has announced he will be leaving us in early October to pursue a more direct role in working with homeless people on the streets of Portland.
A few feet down the hall from the newsroom, we’re bidding farewell to Julie Sellner, our executive assistant who for more than 33 years has kept editors and publishers from screwing up budgets, forgetting appointments and doing other bad things. Julie and her husband are retiring to Arizona; I’ll really miss working with her.
News about Parade
Here’s more evidence that the print media landscape continues to shift: Parade, the Sunday magazine that has been inserted into newspapers like The Columbian for decades, is dropping its print edition.
The last print edition of Parade will be produced for distribution on Sunday, Nov. 13. In a letter (an email, actually), Parade’s owner, a company called The Arena Group, said it is concentrating its efforts online. According to the letter, The Arena Group has nearly tripled the number of unique visitors to Parade.com since acquiring the magazine five months ago, is “infusing fresh energy” and sees a “bright digital future.”
For readers of our ePaper, that’s good news. We’ll continue to offer the electronic version to our online readers. Personally, I’m sad to see the end of the print magazine. It’s one of the last of the Sunday print supplements that once included Family Weekend and USA Weekend.