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John Henry, The Boston Globe and the future of the newspaper industry
By Caroline Little, NAA President & CEO
On Thursday, John Henry officially purchased The Boston Globe and The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. In Sunday’s op-ed to The Globe readers, “Why I bought The Globe,” Henry outlines the value of news and his plans for the paper, including the challenges and successes he sees in the near future.
I applaud Henry, Bezos, and other leaders for their dedication to the newspaper industry and their recognition of its growth and evolution in recent years. The industry continues to transform, and I am convinced, as Henry is, that we will see it continue to thrive in the years ahead.
In his op-ed, Henry makes some great points about The Boston Globe that apply to the entire industry. Here are my key takeaways:
1. Readership is rising
Henry notes that “The Boston Globe, through the paper and its website, had more readers than at any time in its history.” We’re seeing this trend across the entire industry as well. Circulation revenue rose by 5% in 2012 – for the first time in 10 years – and audiences of all ages are accessing newspaper content on every digital and mobile platform. While the internet age has produced obstacles for the industry, it has made newspaper-generated content more ubiquitous and widened the audience for each story. Without question, that is a very, very good thing.
2. Trust is key
Delivering trusted news will be the “overriding mission,” and Henry is right to prioritize and call attention to it. Trust and accuracy are the two most important qualities to readers, and Nielsen research shows that newspapers hold the coveted spot as the most trusted of all media – 56 percent trust newspapers, compared to 52 percent for local television and 37 percent for social media. As Henry points out, that trust translates into a key service: Professionally curating the news. The amount of information readily available online can be hard to digest. It should come as no surprise that more and more people are turning to trusted newspapers as the shortcut to the most important news of the day.
3. The future is bright
Henry is honest about the challenges facing the Globe and the newspaper industry, but he is optimistic. “We will succeed, but it will take long hours, creative thinking, and hard work ahead,” he writes. Innovation and success will indeed require dedication and creativity, but we are already seeing great examples and success stories. From media hackathons to building hosted events into a $1 million revenue stream, newspaper companies are adapting with the times.
The newspaper industry is evolving. As challenges continue to be tackled with optimism and ingenuity, we will continue to see success. I look forward to what John Henry will bring to The Boston Globe.
First Published: October 30, 2013
About the Author
Caroline Little is the president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America. With nearly 30 years of experience as an executive in the newspaper industry, Caroline has been at the forefront of the industry’s evolution.
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