Hope on the horizon for newspapers

Newcastle Herald editor Chad Watson accepts the award for Digital News Destination of the Year News Destination — mobile site or app from Dr Peter McAllister at the 2013 PANPA conference.

All is not doom and gloom in the newspaper industry and there may even be an upswing resulting in job creation, according to new research.

“EMMA, a new metric developed collaboratively by Australian newspapers, provides a more accurate measurement of audience reach than other pollsters,’’ says Dr Peter McAllister, who attended the 2013 PANPA (Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association) conference in Sydney last week.

“EMMA, which stands for Enhanced Media Metrics Australia, suggests that newspaper audiences have not only been grossly underestimated (814,000 Sydney Morning Herald readers as opposed to other findings of 562,000, for example) but are actually growing, not declining, in the digital era.

“This matches academic research showing people still get most of their news from traditional sources, even if they are now online.”

Dr McAllister says those newspapers who remained firm and put all their content behind a hard paywall have actually increased their print circulation over the past 10 years.

“What’s more, with the development of several novel ways of monetising quality journalism through digital strategies, the industry seems to be picking itself up and responding to the digital tsunami,” he says.

“The upshot of all this is that the industry itself is quite upbeat about future prospects and is actually anticipating a time soon when it may return to hiring.

“That’s good news for Griffith students and all students everywhere, of course.

“The proviso is that the demands of journalism are changing. Organisations are looking for multi-skilled and self-motivated creative young journos who mix print, broadcast and online skills and have the ability to conceive and tell stories in a wide variety of media.”