Thursday, 4 November 2010

Online Newspapers Taking Over?

Edit - An interesting video that links well with this blog post. The video looks at the 'paywall' and both sides of the argument. LINK HERE.

Peter Cole's account of the modern press produced for the Guardian provides a useful insight into the world of demographics, media influence and readership.

Cole states that figures for newspapers suggest that an increasing number of people are turning away from printed word, instead accessing news online. An article I looked at talking about the Times, however, seemed to disagree. It's now possible to buy digital copies of newspapers for a small sum of money via the Internet. The Daily Star, for example, gives readers the ability to download a digital copy from their computers, which is titled the 'e:edition'. Reading Cole's article, I became interested in how online newspaper sales have impacted the sale of hard copies.

To try and get an answer to my question, I looked at the Times' 'paywall', which charges viewers to view certain articles. Before the viewing charge was introduced to the website, approximately 21 million unique users were recorded on a monthly basis. Following the alterations to the site, this figure plummeted to 2.7 million last month. Clearly, people aren't as willing to fork out the money for digital copies as they are for paper copies, but the newspaper knows this. Executives for the Times said that they actually expected to lose 90% of their online readership anyway. Figures gathered in the last few years prove that tabloids such as The Sun and the Daily Mirror have also lost a large number of readers.

As the newspaper I will be looking at for the news agenda lessons is the Guardian, I will focus more on what Cole had to say about it.

He starts by discussing 'format changes', saying that the Guardian's subject matter and tone has secured itself as the most serious of the four 'quality titles'. Cole says: "As it always has, the Guardian agonises over the human condition and cannot quite understand why the world isn't a better place". Cole also points out that the Guardian appears to 'believe in the power of the governments to sort things out'.

The Guardian also features a magazine, "G2". This part of the paper is clearly aimed at a younger audience and seems to be more willing to deal with celebrity culture. Looking at the copy of G2 I've got at the moment, it's actually quite good. I've never read it before but it seems to be holding my interest!  The fact that the first story deals with goats that are able to climb dams in northern Italy also helps.

Useful sources:
Source A
Source B
Source C


Good work - you've worked hard to bring the Cole articles up to date by discussing the Times paywall etc. You're right to focus the challenge newspapers face by moving online.
I think you'll enjoy G2 - it's aimed at students, with an irreverent tone exemplified by the likes of Charlie Brooker and Marina Hyde.

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