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14 Apr, 2009 07:40

Online news put US newspaper industry under threat

The American newspaper industry says it is in dire straits as readers and advertisers turn to digital sources. Some believe that getting news online is posing a serious threat to print newspaper journalists’ careers.

‘The end of print’, ‘the death of old media’, ‘news going digital’ – such statements have become common in the United States.

Some analysts say the newspaper business is experiencing its worst times in almost a century. Readership has decreased, sales are down, and almost every newspaper in the US seems to have been affected.

RT met up with the executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller.

“Oh, I worry about the future of The New York Times every day, and so do all the people who work here, but I am confident that The New York Times will make it through,” Keller said.

But will it? With so-called ‘lazy consumption’ of news from the web on the rise, as many as twenty million users visit The New York Times website every month. This is far from good news because it means that less people are actually buying newspapers.

“Collapsing is putting it too strongly. The newspaper business is certainly in serious trouble. Like every other business, we are suffering from the global economic recession,” Bill Keller said.

Newspapers are not only losing readers, but also advertisers, who too are moving onto the web.

“An end to professional journalism – no. But a diminishing of professional journalism, a serious shrinkage of professional journalism – yes,” Bill Keller explained.

American radio talk show host Alex Jones says the web is the most serious threat to traditional sources of information – and this is only the beginning as the internet's influence is growing by the day.

“The mainstream media is going bankrupt. TV is going bankrupt, the newspapers are going bankrupt,” Alex Jones said.

Mark Bowden is an American award-winning author and journalist who has been closely following the difficulties of the newspaper industry and also shared his concerns:

“People are finding on the Internet the kind of information and services that they used to go to newspapers for, and so there is no need or reason for people to buy newspapers any more. Newspapers all over America are closing down.”