Newspapers: Alive and well in the Philippines

Newspapers: Alive and well in the Philippines

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WHEN you are in the newspaper business, and you read headlines like “Is traditional media actually dying, and does it matter?”, you start thinking that you are behind the times.

In the United States newspaper-advertising revenues peaked in 2000, and have declined every year since. This decline is not small: From an annual billing of $65 billion, it dropped to $20 billion in 2013.

Some are predicting that broadcast, rather than on-demand, television will be gone by 2030. Radio-advertising revenues are falling slightly. Book sales are plunging. The music industry is losing its traditional business to cheaper, but legal, digital downloads.

The rationale for this situation and for these predictions is that people do not want to spend the time and effort to open a newspaper or wait for their favorite TV program to come on that can be eliminated by
the Internet.

But we all know that the information highway has been fueled, in large part, by social-media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. News organizations may have turned to the Internet, but their greatest advantage comes from breaking news in real time. In-depth reporting is still the same, whether the medium is traditional or digital.

BusinessMirror reporter Cai U. Ordinario wrote recently that Philippine traditional media are not only alive, but also thriving: “Over the past year, radio and television consumption increased to 62 percent and 95 percent, respectively. Television viewership was initially pegged at 93 percent, while radio-listening was at 53 percent in the same period in 2013.” Newspaper readership has also been stable for years.

For his part, Stuart Jamieson, Nielsen Philippines managing director, reported that a Nielsen’s Consumer and Media View study had said, “People are using traditional media in union with the new media.”

The Internet is great for many things, but we all know that too much on the “Net” is chatter, often biased and sometimes just plain wrong.

A newspaper or a licensed TV station puts its credibility on the line with every story or opinion it features. Traditional media cannot hide or simply press the “Delete” button. It must come back every day to win the public’s trust. A reporter or commentator must answer to an editor, who then must answer to the publisher.

It is good to know that Filipinos are still committed to traditional media. Behind every story in the newspaper is a team, from the reporters to the editors and publishers, who put their names and reputation on every word you read.

Image Credits: Jimbo Albano

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