Old News in New Times: Newspapers Growing in Emerging Economies
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, University of Maryland, 2011-2012
“There’s an assumption that there’s a single crisis affecting all news organisations, and that’s not the case,” says David Levy, director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University. “There are different kinds of crisis in different countries, and some countries in the developing world are experiencing expansion rather than decline.”“How newspapers are faring: A little local difficulty; American newspapers are in trouble, but in emerging markets the news industry is roaring ahead” The Economist, July 7, 2011.
The obituary for newspapers has long been written in the Western world, but there’s proof of life elsewhere. Printed newspapers are flourishing in emerging economies, with India leading the charge. Between 2005 and 2009, the number of paid-for daily newspapers in India increased by 44%, according to the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. India’s total paid daily circulation reportedly became the world leader in 2008 at 110 million copies sold per day. And the largest English-language daily in the world? It’s the Times of India. Newspapers are thriving, too, in such places as China, Brazil, and South Africa.
What’s going on? For one thing, newspapers are seen as aspirational products for the growing number of newly literate. And being able to read in the language of globalization – English – is a particular asset in such places, even as the level of Internet penetration lags behind the leading economies. Even where emerging economies are transitioning to the digital age, online consumption of news is supplementing, not supplanting, the traditional morning paper.
What’s in store? Print news in emerging economies is likely to face business-model conundrums similar to those in the West with affluence and bandwidth on the rise. How these changes will affect the practice of journalism in places such as India — and how news industry leaders position themselves for what is to come — will be well worth watching.
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The Economist: Newspapers “roaring ahead” in emerging economies
The Economist: Internet has the news business “upside down”
Firstpost: Business model “crisis” ahead for print news in India
The Times of India
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
New Yorker: “Death and life” of American newspapers
New York Review of Books: Russel Baker, “Goodbye to newspapers?”
“We Will Stop Printing The New York Times Sometime In The Future”
The Nation: “Save the news, not the newspaper”