There are many challenges facing shuttered newspapers that might have decades or even centuries of archival material to preserve.

Photo: (Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)

24 November 2021 | Andrew Egan | Tedium

A slow death by a thousand paper cuts

Newspapers and print journalism in general have been dying a slow death for more than 20 years now. While causes and the current state of the industry are very much in debate, there is little argument that print journalism is currently in a dire state. The Hussman School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill counted some 1,800 American newspapers that have closed since 2004.

The corresponding loss of readership has been shocking, totaling nearly 50 million with unclear evidence whether those news audiences have moved online. For example, Nieman Lab examined the aftermath of The Independent, a British newspaper, choosing to close its print operations in favor of online-only distribution.

When the paper made the decision in 2016, its print circulation was only 40,000, compared to more than 58 million online readers. However, those print readers accounted for more than 80 percent of the consumption of The Independent’s content.