Pew: Coronavirus Downturn Hits Newspapers Hard as TV News Thrives (News & Tech)

November 2, 2020

Article by: News & Tech

Pew: Coronavirus Downturn Hits Newspapers Hard as TV News Thrives
A new Pew study compares the coronavirus hits that the newspaper and TV news industries have taken. Newspaper companies have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Pew says. Among the six publicly traded newspaper companies studied — major chains that own over 300 daily papers — advertising revenue fell by a median of 42% year over year (i.e., comparing the second quarter of 2020 with the second quarter of 2019).

By contrast, total ad revenue across the three major cable news networks was steady overall, but there were sharp differences between the networks: While ad revenue for MSNBC and CNN declined by double digits, Fox News Channel’s revenue rose by 41%. Ad revenue for the five local TV news companies studied (which together own or operate at least 600 individual stations) was also down in the second quarter of this year, but increases in retransmission fees more than made up for this. Meanwhile, ad revenue for nightly network TV news at the three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) increased over the same period, as audiences have been turning to TV in record numbers for news about the outbreak.

Sen. Cantwell Releases Report on Local Journalism
Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) has released a report titled “Local Journalism: America’s Most Trusted News Sources Threatened.” The report outlines how changes in the information marketplace and the dominance of online platforms pose an existential threat to local news publishers, says the News Media Alliance. The report notes the vital importance of high-quality journalism to our communities and calls for the restoration of local journalism, including through Congressional action, says the Alliance. The publication of the report came ahead of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s hearing on Oct. 28 examining Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The heads of Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet/Google testified at the hearing. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has announced Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will appear voluntarily before the committee on Nov. 17. The hearing will focus on the “platforms’ censorship and suppression of New York Post articles,” says a release from Graham.

Drupa’s Digital Preview Opens
The digital platform drupa preview opened on Oct. 27. The digital offering from Messe Dusseldorf, organizer of drupa, the international trade fair for the printing and packaging industries, comes after the fair scheduled for June 16–26 was postponed until April 20–28, 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. A number of vendors have dropped out of that event, including Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Canon, Screen, Xerox, EFI, Kodak, Fujifilm and HP, the trade fair’s biggest exhibitor. More than 1,900 visitors took part in panel discussions and live web sessions on the digital preview, say organizers.

Around 1,400 exhibitors from 50 countries presented their products, solutions and applications. The top five countries to see participation were Japan, India, UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Messe Dusseldorf says the preview’s three areas “‘Exhibition Space,” “Conference Area” and “Networking Plaza” reflect drupa’s cornerstones digitally, bridging the communication needs between now and the April event, to take place in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Lee Selling Globe Gazette Building
Lee Enterprises has put the Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) building on the market, the paper reported. The news staff will operate out of a new spot in or near downtown Mason City after the building is sold, the paper said. Cerro Gordo property records put the tax value of the Globe Gazette property at $897,450, says the paper. The paper is printed at the Des Moines Register facility in Des Moines.

Salt Lake Tribune to Scrap Daily Print
The daily print Salt Lake Tribune is to be no more. The paper has announced that it will cease producing a daily print edition and will go to a weekly printed paper delivered through the mail, starting January 2, 2021. In addition, The Tribune and local rival the Deseret News won’t renew their joint operating agreement, the papers reported. That deal, made in 1952, will end Dec. 31.

Meanwhile in early 2021, the Deseret News will move from daily print delivery to two new printed offerings — a reimagined weekly paper and a new monthly news magazine called Deseret. The Church News will stay a weekly print product. Digital delivery will go on uninterrupted the paper said. The paper is owned by a subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Tribune said it doesn’t plan to cut its newsroom staff as part of the change. Salt Lake Tribune Chairman Paul Huntsman bought the paper in 2016 from Alden Global Capital. The paper got IRS approval to be a non-profit last year. The printing presses in West Valley City that the two papers share will be “mothballed,” according to a source, says The Tribune. The almost 160 press operators, carriers and other facility staff will lose their jobs.

Mid-America Publishing Moves to NewsXtreme Cloud
Mid-America Publishing, a third-generation publishing house based in Hampton, Iowa, has moved their legacy workflow system to the hosted, cloud-based production environment offered by Presteligence, NewsXtreme Cloud, says a news release from Presteligence. NewsXtreme Cloud services bundles NewsXtreme Prepress Production workflow, PDF corrector, ink optimization, and the NewsXtreme Commercial portal. Presteligence is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio.

‘Thrive’ Magazine Will Stop Publishing
“Thrive” magazine will stop publishing, The Courier-Tribune (Asheboro, North Carolina) reported. Gannett owns the magazine and The Courier-Tribune. The cancellation is not related to COVID-19, the paper said. “It’s more about changing roles and goals in the newspaper industry,” the story said. “More simply put, print publications are very expensive to produce, especially magazines. I will miss producing not only ‘Thrive,’ but our regional groups’ other two magazines — ‘Davidson Living’ and ‘Alamance Living,’ said the Jill Doss-Raines, who wrote the story on the cancellations.

Amazon Buys Former Orange County Register Plant
Amazon has bought a printing plant in Santa Ana, California, that had been used by the Orange County Register, the paper reported. The plant will be knocked down and a distribution center will go up in its place, says the paper. Amazon paid nearly $63.2 million on Oct. 19 to purchase the facility and nearly 17 acres along the 5 Freeway, said Jack Haley with Lee & Associates, a listing agent for the property. Real estate developer Michael Harrah, who owned the Register property for several years, remains the owner of the well-known orange building where the paper’s newsroom and ad staff worked since the mid-80s, the paper said. That building is up for sale or lease. The Register newsroom operates out of a building in Anaheim near the 57 freeway south of Angel Stadium. Digital First Media bought the paper in a bankruptcy auction in 2016.

Star Courier Building Sold
The Star Courier (Kewaunee, Illinois) building has been sold to a Johnson Towing and Recovery, based in Manlius, the paper reported. Gannett owns the paper. The paper’s staff will operate out of office space inside the building, the paper says. The Star Courier will go on printing five days a week and readers won’t see any change in coverage or service, says the paper.

Twin Cities Weekly City Pages Shuts Down
Twin Cities free weekly City Pages is shutting down, owner Star Tribune Media announced Oct. 28. The weekly has been operating for 41 years. Thirty people will lose jobs. Affected employees will get severance packages, the company said. “For more than 40 years, City Pages has been a go-to source for coverage of the Twin Cities arts, culture, politics, entertainment, and dining scenes,” said a statement from the company. “However, despite its strong presence and brand, months of quarantines, restrictions, and closures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted the restaurants, clubs, theaters, museums, and other venues that form the core of City Pages’ revenue.” “City Pages is dead. We had a good run,” read a headline in the paper.

More news
• WSJ. Magazine is lowering its print editions to 12 to eight, WWD reported.

• The New York Times has partnered with with creative agency Droga5 and media agency Hearts & Science on a Snapchat augmented reality lens, Adweek reported. The lens is part of the Times’ “The Truth Is Essential” campaign.

• Insider has purchased a majority stake in Morning Brew, a startup that deals in business newsletters and podcasts, Axios reported.


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