September 20, 2005

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Tough times for newspapers

Clearly it's desperate days in the newspaper world. Last week the Asian Wall Street Journal (AWSJ) set up a booth offering cut price access to the paper and This morning at Pacific Coffee there are free International Herald Tribune's and an offer of 2 weeks free delivery, with a stack of IHT's begging to be taken. Walking into the office, the AWSJ stand has morphed in a stack of free copies of today's edition, a pile that has remained static and high for most of the day.

At the same time Ian Lamont discusses his recent op-ed in the best locally produced English-language daily in East Asia* on the potential power of the internet and mobile phones amongst China's citizenry. Ian was paid a freelance fee that works out to about $200. I'm assuming that's US dollars, not HK dollars. With the typical mix of low quality op-ed pieces and cut-and-paste jobs from various syndicates or "big papers" on the SCMP's pages, that sounds like money for jam. There's plenty of good blogs out there (many of which I link to) which give you better and clearer analysis from people on the ground...for free. Note that this isn't having a go at Ian...his piece was the exception that proves the rule.

What's happening to newspapers? They can't even give them away for free.

* Incredibly, he's talking about the SCMP. Although what's the competition in that category?

posted by Simon on 09.20.05 at 03:50 PM in the Media category.


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A friend of mine told me that he's been getting free issues of The Standard in his mailbox for the past few weeks. Perhaps they are giving them away?

posted by: doug crets on 09.20.05 at 05:57 PM [permalink]

I thought I'd best keep quiet about that one. Mrs M is a devotee of the Sudoku and I'm quite partial to the paper myself.

Luckily none of the staff read this site.

posted by: Simon on 09.20.05 at 06:00 PM [permalink]

I know. If my editor, Lin, say, was reading this and he saw that I had written that, I'd bet I'd get in trouble. Luckily, Lin has never read this before, at all, I'm sure.

posted by: doug crets on 09.20.05 at 10:43 PM [permalink]

you ARE in trouble now!

posted by: lin on 09.21.05 at 08:00 AM [permalink]

nice try.

posted by: doug crets on 09.21.05 at 08:15 AM [permalink]

The NYT laid off 500 people today and are now charging a hefty fee for receiveing their op-ed columns. They are in serious trouble. bad times indeed for newspapers everywhere.Not to mention news stations like CNBC. Especially international. No advertisers here in Asia except Malaysian tourism.

posted by: richard on 09.21.05 at 07:00 PM [permalink]

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