The Next Newspaper Die-Off

by Dish Staff

Newspaper Ad Dollars

Clay Shirky predicts that it will hit soon:

As Dick Tofel of ProPublica often points out, newspaper revenue has been shrinking since 2006, but the American economy has been growing since 2009. Between 1970 and now, the US has averaged only six years between recessions; the current period of growth crossed the six year mark this spring. We are statistically much closer to the next recession than to the last one, and in a recession, ad dollars are the first to go. Many papers will go bankrupt the way Hemingway’s Mike Campbell did: Gradually, and then suddenly.

The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic. If that’s you, it’s time to learn something outside the production routine of your current job. It will be difficult and annoying, your employer won’t be much help, and it may not even work, but we’re nearing the next great contraction. If you want to get through it, doing almost anything will be better than doing almost nothing.

(Chart from Mark Perry.)