American press

My name is Ann Yakusheva. I’m a student of the 9th form. Today I’m going to give a talk on the topic «The American Press». I have chosen this theme because I like to read more than to listen to something. May be that’s because I remember things better when I can see them with my own eyes. That’s why I’m so concerned about some rumours predicting the death of the press.

The death of the newspaper has been predicted for centuries. There were those who thought thаt the invention of printing heralded the beginning of civilization. Cinema, radio and television have all been presented as the murderers of our most treasured cultural icon. The Internet is the latest suspect to hold the smoking gun.

The problem is that this is a murder without a victim. More newspapers are being published than ever before. The mass media of the twentieth century have generated print, not destroyed it. Newspapers are filled with stories about media people, both in reality and in the soapy world, which they inhabit. Far from killing the printed items, the media have been one of its saviours.

Some newspapers are indeed being replaced by electronic media. Who wants to use a twenty-volume encyclopedia when information can be retrieved instantaneously from a CD-ROM? Why should a lawyer spend time (and a client’s money) searching through massive tomes, when what is sought can be found in seconds from a database? But no one will lie in bed reading novels from CD-ROM. Electronic devices are not easily transportable. Not to mention the computers.

This medium, so powerful and so pervasive, has its limits just like any other. It is, of course, the greatest revolution in communications since the invention of printing and arguably comparable in its impact with the invention of writing itself. The marriage of computing and telecommunications has finally broken the tyrannies of time and distance to which we have been subjected since the dawn of time. But reading of books, magazines and newspapers still have a part to play. They will continue to instruct, amuse, influence and infuriate for decades and centuries to come.

In my research I will try to prove that the death of printing is not here to come.

The US press plays an important part in the politics, in business of the whole world. The press conference is an American invention. That is why I have taken American press as an example because I’m very interested in it.

Everyone notices about American printed editions that local newspapers аrе morе important than national ones because of the great size of the USA. Only the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal are read over a large part of the country. But there are other newspapers that have a wide interest and influence; they include the Washington Post, the popular Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the St Louis Post Dispatch and the San Francisco Examiner.

In the 20th century newspapers have ranged from tabloids featuring pictures and sensational news to, «responsible journals». Their pages are varied and include columns devoted to news, editorials, letters to the editor, business and finance, sports, entertainment, art, music, books, comics, fashion, food, society, television and radio. As the great newspaper chains and news agencies grew, America‘s press lost its individualistic character; many features are common to newspapers all over the country, which therefore have a uniform appearance.

Although there are no separate Sunday papers as there are in Great Britain, US daily papers do have special Sunday editions. Many of these are remarkable in size: the New York Times Sunday edition regularly has over 200 pages.

Aside from a few notable exceptions like the New York Times, the St Louis Post-Dispatch, the Washington Post, the press is daily filled with sex and violence. It is a river of morbidity, murder, divorce and gang fights. It’s a mélange of chintzy gossip, columns, horoscopes, homemaking hints, advice to the lovelorn, comics, crossword puzzles and insane features like: «Are you happily married? Take the following test…»

I have gathered and analyzed all the information about “Top Five” editions which are the most popular among American people. They are The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times.

I have come to the conclusion that the newspaper industry has always been cyclical. But television‘s arrival in the 1950s, the explosion of the internet in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century increased the cutting down of newspapers’ hegemony as the source of news.

Newspaper

Type

Founded

Headquarters

Circulation

2005

Circulation

2011

The New York Times

Daily newspaper

September

1851

The New York Times Building

620 Eighth Avenue

Manhattan, New York

1,131,000

916,911

The Chicago Tribune

Daily newspaper

June

1847

Tribune Tower

435 North Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois

437,205

441,508

The Wall Street Journal

Daily newspaper

July

1889

1211 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY

2,092,523

2,117,796

USA Today

Daily newspaper

September

1982

7950 Jones Branch Drive

McLean, Virginia

2,250,000

1,829,099

The Los Angeles Times

Daily newspaper

December

1881

202 West 1st Street

Los Angeles, California

600,449

605,243

 

Press baron Rupert Murdoch once described the profits flowing from his stable of newspapers as “rivers of gold.” “But”, said Murdoch several years later, “sometimes rivers dry up.”

Overall, in the United States, average operating profit margins for newspapers remain at 11%. But that figure is falling rapidly. And circulation has dropped 2% annually for years. The cloudy outlook for future profits has meant that many newspapers have been unable to find buyers.

«As succeeding generations grow up with the Web and lose the habit of reading print,» noted The Columbia Journalism Review in 2007, «it seems improbable that newspapers can survive with a cost structure at least 50% higher than their nimbler and cheaper Internet competitors.» The problem facing newspapers is generational: while in 2005 an estimated 70% of older Americans read a newspaper daily, fewer than 20% of younger Americans did.

«It is the fundamental problem facing the industry,» writes newspaper analyst Morton. «It’s probably not going away. And no one has figured a way out.»

The gloomy outlook is not universal. In some countries, such as India, the newspaper remains more popular than internet and broadcast media. Even where the problems are felt most keenly, in North America and Europe, there have been recent success stories, such as the dramatic rise of free daily newspapers.

The technology revolution has meant that readers accustomed to waiting for a daily newspaper can now receive up-to-the-minute updates from web portals, bloggers and new services such as Twitter. The expanding reach of broadband internet access means such updates have become commonplace for many users. But many of these ‘new media’ are simply ‘aggregators’ of news, often derived from print sources. It’s estimated that the percentage of online news derived from newspapers is 80%.

«Newspapers are doing the reporting in this country,» observed John S. Carroll, editor of The Los Angeles Times for five years. «Google and Yahoo aren’t those people putting reporters on the street in any number. Blogs cannot afford it.»

Ultimately, the newspaper of the future may bear little resemblance to the newsprint edition familiar to older readers. It may become a hybrid, part-print and part-internet, or perhaps eventually, as has happened with several newspapers, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Christian Science Monitor and the Ann Arbor News, internet only.

«My expectation,» wrote executive editor Bill Keller of The New York Times in January 2009 «is that for the foreseeable future our business will continue to be a mix of print and online journalism.» The paper in newspaper may go away, but the news will remain. «Paper is dying,» said Nick Bilton, a technologist for The Times, «but it’s just a device. Replacing it with pixels is a better experience

Much of that experimentation may happen in the world’s fastest-growing newspaper markets. «The world is becoming more digital but technology has helped newspapers as much as the Internet.» Making those technological changes work for them, instead of against them, will decide whether newspapers remain vital – or roadkill on the information superhighway.

Once William Somerset Maugham, a famous writer and reporter, said : “I would sooner read a time-table or a catalogue than nothing at all.” Paraphrasing his words I presume: “I would sooner read a hybrid, a part-print and part-internet newspaper than nothing at all.”