‘A Bitter End’: The print newspaper faces day of reckoning

a bitter end“A Bitter End,” read the headline of an early edition of Monday’s Boston Globe, delivered to newspaper subscribers in Florida, reporting on the New England Patriots’ loss in Super Bowl LI.

Except that, well, you know what happened.

Is there any better way to illustrate the place of print daily newspapers in 2017?

As profit margins get ever smaller, dailies have been going to ever-earlier deadlines out of economic necessity – usually the case being that they share printing operations with sister papers.

That doesn’t appear to be the case with the Globe update to “Dewey Defeats Truman.” The early Globe edition for Florida subscribers is aimed at snowbirds from the Northeast either on vacation or relocated, temporarily or permanently.

But newspapers across the country risk similar issues with headlines on a daily basis because of the unfavorable economic climate for daily print.

Colleagues at local papers in my home market are being forced to do more with less in terms of resources at their disposal, and can run into serious deadline pressures with local high-school sports and local government meetings that start in the evening and drag toward their own versions of overtime.

When people call the next morning to complain that a story they were looking for didn’t make the paper, the answer is the familiar “check the website,” which is fine in the short term, but long term, aren’t you just speeding up the endgame?

Daily papers really only have value as advertising vehicles, and even that value is getting harder and harder to quantify.

As more advertisers come to realize that their dollars are best spent anywhere else, the daily paper is ceasing to be.

Or you might say, coming to “a bitter end.”

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Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009.

(We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!)

That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year.

(Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.)

AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue?

From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading.

Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.

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