RSS Feeds and Dwindling Circulation

Are blogs and RSS feeds destroying the business that I am attempting to enter? According to this article written April 25, 2005, by Randy Dotinga of the Christian Science Monitor, newspapers are facing increased competition from blogs, RSS feed readers, and sites that run their own news aggregators such as Yahoo! News and Google News. The article points out that “the percentage of adults who report reading daily newspapers has fallen from 81 percent in 1964 to just 52 percent in 2004.” Newspapers have also suffered from a slew of credibility/ethics issues and the siphoning of advertisers from newsprint to internet sites such as (which the article mentions is free though it does charge for job postings). Dotinga continues:

Younger people are used to news content on the Internet, which allows them to pick from lists of headlines instead of flipping through pages to find stories that interest them, says Adam Penenberg, assistant professor in the business and economic reporting program at New York University. “They customize their news-gathering experience in a way a single paper publication could never do,” Mr. Penenberg wrote in a Wired News column last year. “And their hands never get dirty from newsprint.”

This is not to say that newspapers are not trying to address the problem. Many papers have attempted to increase readership by adding new sections that are quick and easy to read with subject material that appeals to a younger audience and female readers. That is not all they are doing. According to an April 07, 2005 Wired article, the Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, and UK Guardian will offer their own branded, stand-alone newsreader software. Some, like this user, believe that “The move is apparently intended to capture the less tech-savvy news consumer who may not know what an RSS reader is, but know that their favorite paper now offers them a way to get lots of headlines from lots of places.” The post also mentions that the newsreaders allow the newspapers to maintain their own brand and sell relevant advertising.

Of course, this is not the first discussion on the topic of the internet and its effects on newspapers. For a great discussion visit this entry by SJSU Professor Dennis Dunleavy.

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