Internet Hurting Local Newspapers

    August 17, 2007

News audiences are turning their backs on television and news papers and using the Internet as their primary source of information according to a new study from Harvard "Creative Destruction: An Exploratory Look and News on the Internet."

"As online use has increased, the audiences of older media have declined," Harvard University professor Thomas Patterson said in a report on the year-long study issued by Harvard’s Shorenstein Centre on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

The study found that visitors to nationally known newspaper Web sites such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today are attracting a larger audience. On average large newspaper site traffic increased by 10 percent over the past year. In comparison Web sites of most other newspapers of large, medium and small cities are losing their audiences.

 The biggest gains in traffic happened among non-traditional news providers including those with search engines, service providers, aggregators and blogger sites grew more quickly than the sites of traditional news providers.

 Google, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN had large increases in traffic over the past year.

The research found that local newspaper sites were the most affected by the increased traffic to well known sites. The study also found that the Internet is a bigger threat to local news organizations because it decreases the influence of geography on user’s choice of a news source.