Coronavirus rattles media sector2020.03.23
THE ailing US news industry is bracing for more turmoil with the coronavirus pandemic expected to deliver an economic shock to the sector – just when people need credible information the most.
The impact is expected to be especially difficult for the newspaper sector, which has endured a decade where 2,000 publications have disappeared and newsroom jobs have fallen by half.
News organisations are expected to take a hit from drops in advertising in an economic downturn, and could see declines in subscription revenue as readers pare expenses.
Conferences and events that some organisations have used to supplement their incomes are also likely to disappear as long as the health emergency persists.
“If you’re ad supported and now heading into a period of short-term economic contraction that’s very bad for your business,” said journalism professor Gabriel Kahn, “For smaller local players that’s a direct hit they can’t easily recover from.”
The free Seattle weekly The Stranger warned of an impending crisis and asked readers for donations, noting that “90 percent of our revenue – advertising, ticketing fees and our own events – is directly tied to people getting together in groups. The coronavirus situation has virtually eliminated this income all at once.”
But journalism professor Damian Radcliffe said the epidemic offers an opportunity to rebuild trust with readers, “At a time of a national and international public health crisis, communities need reliable, informed journalism more than ever.”
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 23 March 2020)
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