About CivicEdition

Why are we undertaking this project?

The newspaper publishing industry is facing a systemic structural challenge the likes of which they have never seen before. With long-term decline in circulation advertisers are moving from traditional newspaper outlets into new digital formats.

These trends have been accelerated by the global economic downturn and are forecasted to continue.

According to figures published by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), the first three quarters of 2009 reported a loss in total Ad revenue of $6.8 Billion or 28%.  This drastic decline follows two consecutive years of falling revenues of 16.6% in 2008, and 7.9% in 2007.

The newspaper industry is caught in a business model, which doesn’t support the changes to digital media. The failed model that is killing newspapers is to raise prices while demand for their contend drops. Coupled with this fact, newspaper businesses as a whole have not figured out how to effectively make use of “social media.” The result is a dying industry.

The industry clearly has not taken the digital age seriously. Newspapers have declined to innovate thereby giving their once market domination to the likes of, Craigslist, eBay, Monster.com, and Google who have lured away customers with superior products and services.

“At their peak, local newspapers did two things: They created community. And they provided the local marketplace for goods and services. These services were so profitable, that they subsidized the civic good of journalism. The reason newspapers are in trouble today is because they have lost their dominant position on both of these fronts.” Chris O’Brien. Future of Local News About More Than Paid Content

The newspaper publishing industry is much more than a content publisher. They play an important role in a healthy democracy.  There is more at steak on their survival, then jobs and tradition. Without a healthy news industry “More of American life will occur in shadows. We won’t know what we won’t know” says Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, quoted in Starr (2009).

In order for journalism to thrive, a “new” sustainable revenue model must be discovered tested, and adopted quickly to avoid further carnage.

In any disruptive business cycle new ideas and technologies emerge to successfully support the transformation. Sadly legacy ownership while in crisis recoiled to the perceived safety of their traditional business models only to prolong an inevitable slow death.

Civic Edition is dedicated to developing new and innovative business models to transform how we generate, distribute and profit from local community news.

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