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Hold the presses : the vision unsplendid for Australian newspapers

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Montgomery, BJ 2009 , 'Hold the presses : the vision unsplendid for Australian newspapers', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The destiny of Australian newspapers and the journalists who work for them came into sharp focus in August 2008 when Fairfax Media announced it was cutting five per cent of its Australian and New Zealand workforce. At the same time it flagged it would be outsourcing some editorial production, notably the sub-editing of non-news pages, to private contractors. Fairfax's cost-cutting measures illustrate the extent to which the survival of some of our biggest newspapers is threatened by the modem medium of the Internet.
This thesis synthesises and assesses the views of notable players in the news industry on the future of Australian newspapers. Its concern is the future of the print platform per se, not the likely structure and future output of today's newspaper companies. It draws on interviews with practitioners and publishers, public statements, documents and academic literature. It also seeks to determine the status of newspaper circulation and readership in Australia relative to the increasing size of the potential market. It examines available data on readership and circulation and benchmarks that data against Australian population growth to indicate audience-share and market penetration in a different light to that provided by the conventional publications of the Audit Bureau of Circulations and Roy Morgan Research, which report actual sales and estimated readership in absolute rather than terms relative to the potential market. The thesis establishes that newspapers are losing their patronage across the population at large.
In developed nations, online news and advertising that are delivered on computer screens at home, in the workplace and on mobile devices challenge the viability and utility of daily newspapers in their traditional form. The embrace of digitised news in its various formats heralds a third wave of technological challenges to newspapers and to those practitioners for whom journalism is still a form of higher calling.
Part of the response by newspapers to the challenge to their dominance has been to create their own news websites. This thesis confirms that a successful business model for these websites has yet to emerge, certainly not one that provides pre internet advertising share and revenue.
This thesis breaks new ground in two areas: the real terms decline of Australian newspaper circulation and readership; and it finds consensus, notably between current and former Fairfax executives, that the future of Australian newspapers is a complex equation, primarily determined by the market in which each operates and its primary source of revenue.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Montgomery, BJ
Keywords: Australian newspapers, Newspaper publishing, Newspaper reading
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2009 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MA)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references

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