Newspapers are dying, but the news is thriving.

Media criticism.
June 24 2006 8:13 AM

The Incredible Shrinking Newspaper

Newspapers are dying, but the news is thriving.

(Continued from Page 1)

Like the ailing—but much alive—character prematurely tossed onto the meat wagon in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, newspapers are right to shout, "I'm not dead!" In their dying, the best newspapers are plotting—and experiencing—rebirths as multiplatform news companies. They're building out their Web sites, investing in free daily tabloids, partnering more extensively with radio and TV, sending advertiser-supported news to cell phones, and frantically devising business models to make the new equation work.

As much as people may have given up the newspaper habit, their appetite for news has become insatiable, news companies are learning. The 1.1 million-circulation New York Times served 25 million unique readers in April via its NYTimes.com Web site, according to its own logs. Washingtonpost.com, which serves 80 percent of its audience outside the D.C. area, has made the Washington Post a national newspaper.

Advertisement

To bring the story back to home, the Washington Post Co.'s washingtonpost.com now employs an editorial staff of 65, and the editorial masthead of its free Express tabloid numbers at least a dozen. These jobs didn't exist 10 years ago, and they just about equal the head count lost in the recent Post buyouts. The changing landscape puts new media in the position of the mortician who said to the corpse, "Sorry, pal, but your dying is my living."

******

Send mortician jokes to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. EarthLink folks: Turn off your spam filters if you want me to write back.)

A version of this piece appears in the Washington Post Outlook section.

Correction, June 25, 2006: The original version of this story stated that the New York Times was contemplating a switch to lighter-weight paper stock. In fact, the switch has already been made. ( Return to the corrected sentence.)

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.