Within 10 years, 80-percent of newspaper readership will be gone, and the only way newspaper companies can survive the change is to band together in networks, about 35 publishers, editors, journalists gathered at the Poynter Institute have been told. They gathered Nov. 10-11 at the St. Petersburg, Fla., newspaper education and training facility.
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Journalism is shifting more from a business to a social mission, observed Paul Tash, chairman, CEO and editor of the St. Petersburgh Times, which is owned by the non-profit Poynter Insitutte. Tash told partipants in the seminar, “Who Will Pay for the News?” that he believed something more than a “white paper that doesn’t get read’ needed ultimately to come out of their deliberations. He said Poynter is looking to understand larger parts of the journalism mission than just newspapers. “How can the Poynter Institute adapt its mission to meet the needs of journalism that is going on outside of these commercially based institutions?”
Through two days, Poynter seminar participants returned repeatedly to the question of whether, or how, the public might be expected to pay for informaion. On Tuesday morning, Poynter summit participants were treated to a short summary of research on the demographics and desires of the “millennial” generation – those U.S. adults who are now age 18-30. Poynter faculty member Kelly McBride, whose regular speciality is journalistic ethics, said she had been surveying and would summarize research by the Pew Foundation and Magid Associates. The analysis is important, she said, because the age group is the first to have come of age entirely in the Internet era – and they are not big newspapers readers. So news organization who want them as users need to study them.