Naturally this fact does not make headline news in the Herald or Dom Post. After all, the vast bulk of newspaper revenue comes from advertising which in turn depends on number of copies sold. The industry response has been to put their product on-line, but digital media is failing to attract the advertising revenue needed to maintain quality staff.
The industry is in a vicious circle of decline. As journalism standards fall, the public puts less trust in what is the papers say. Instead they follow on-line sources, especially for informed opinion about national and local issues, so the figures for our new media bloggers rise and rise.
According to the media industry website, “StopPress”, Stuff averaged 1,733,000 visitors per months to its site while the NZHerald received 1,315,000 visits.
Averaged out that equates to about 80,000 a weekday on Stuff and 61,000 a weekday on the NZHerald.
Kiwiblog has around 12,000 a weekday. Not bad with no staff, just me and some helpers.
WhaleOil has numbers not far off the NZ Herald, and with again no paid staff.
Meanwhile the standard of journalism has declined in both papers to such an extent that they have become mere puppets of our local politicians, only reporting what they say and omitting opposition voices. This is so evident that even the local Greenies are beginning to fret about the biased reporting.
Neither paper offers a credible on-line alternative so it is hardly surprising that people are turning instead to my own blog in increasing numbers. There is a thirst for informed commentary, especially about local politics on Waiheke and in Auckland, from someone who understands local government and is able to decipher the meaning of political decisions.
From a standing start less than two years ago my blog now attracts an average of around 1600 daily visitors. Not quite Kiwiblog, but not bad for a lone voice on a small island off Auckland who only publishes one blog a day.
The demise of mainstream media is summed up on Whaleoil (by far the most popular blog in New Zealand with daily visits almost equal to the Herald).
The time is coming for a change, a chance to finally hold mainstream media to account.
It used to be that media held the powerful to account, they still pretend that they do, but along the way the media became part of the establishment, part of the problem. No one holds them to account because when you try to they cry “media freedoms”.
They have used those freedoms irresponsibly and it is little wonder then that the public has lost confidence in news organisations and journalists.
Their crusading has undone them. It truly is time for a refreshing change to challenge the status quo.
Yesterday’s papers (and media outlets) are no longer fit for purpose.