Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 3rd 2013 Contents B6≠
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 3, 2013
Britain is witnessing the slow
death of the printed newspaper.
Within a decade daily newspa-
pers will stop being printed.
Audiences of historic institu-
tions like the Times or Guardian
are digitally migrating. Phones
and tablets are now the primary
mode of consumption.
In the future, technology will
make digital news consumption
even more expedient. One day
newsprint might float in front of
our eyes, hologram-style, like the
pop-up adverts in Minority
Reasons for print-to-online
migration are well documented:
the Internet is free, newspapers
cost money. Some newspapers
have, accordingly, stopped charg-
ing and give away their product
free. London s Evening Standard
is a prime example.
People are no longer prepared
to pay for the commodity known
as news, especially young people.
Its value to the individual has
been undermined to an irretriev-
In T&T the story is different
but there is still cause for concern.
Print sales are stable, for now.
Without an official auditing body
to independently verify circula-
tion, we rely on figures given by
the newspapers themselves (from
various surveys), which suggest
they are holding up.
T&T newspaper prices are dirt
cheap---$2 for this publication is
staggeringly low, and it hasn t
risen for years. It s unbelievable
value for money.
The UK Guardian costs $14 on
weekdays and $23 on Saturdays.
It has undergone price rises of $2
a year, which mitigate loss of rev-
enue from falling circulation.
Today it sells 16,000 fewer
copies per day than this time last
The decline has continued
unabated for British newspapers
for a decade, since the dawn of
When I started working at the
UK Guardian in 2008 its daily
circulation was 300,000; when
I left in 2013 it was 150,000---
halved in five years. Meanwhile,
its online readership soars. The
commercial strategy of the UK
Guardian, therefore, is to raise
the price of the print version to
make as much money as possible
before print becomes obsolete.
Absent paying customers, the
other revenue source newspapers
have is advertising. Print ad space
is lucrative and highly valued by
advertisers for its impact. Online
ad space is less valued and works
by a process of micro-payments
based on the number of times an
advert is seen.
The Internet in Britain is
clogged with adverts. In T&T the
Internet is less saturated. Watch-
ing YouTube here is a blessing. I
haven t seen one pre-roll ad. Back
home every video you watch is
prefaced with a 30-second ad.
But is it a good thing for news-
papers in T&T that there are
fewer online ads?
In the long run, probably not.
Media owners and advertising
agencies across the Caribbean
will have to develop a sophisti-
cated online industry to replace
While the print market here is
still blooming, what will happen
in ten to 20 years when many of
the older readers who buy the
daily papers have died?
Young people are less likely to
buy a newspaper than to visit
news sites, blogs and social media
networks. Investing $2 a day in
an increasingly archaic medium
(paper and ink) is not on their
So online revenue needs to rap-
idly increase, or T&T s next gen-
eration will be faced with a
choice: do you want newspapers
to survive? And if so, what are
you going to do about it?
The one certain thing you can
do is reach into your pocket each
day and pull out $2 for a paper.
The Internet population of
T&T (600,000) is too low for
online advertising impressions to
hit levels that will push up ad
revenue yields. T&T news Web
sites won t reach the radar of
international ad agencies any time
soon---the online ad market here
is tiny. Unviable, even.
We all love Facebook, Twitter,
Wired868.com, Reddit, Lime.tt
in a situation where that s all we
can turn to for news? That and
Some people actually might
like the proliferation of user-gen-
erated content Web sites, seeing
them as a publicly-led media that
removes the authority of national
newspapers to set news agendas
and influence views.
In such a world, glib Facebook
comments can be viewed more
times than a newspaper column
like this one.
Personally, I like the T&T
newspaper market and its plu-
rality of opinion. I like newspapers
as daily institutions. I like the
loyalty people show to their
paper(s) of choice.
Newspaper readers have a duty
to keep them going. We should
encourage children to read them
and dispel the notion that paying
for news is an archaic tradition.
It is a vital and relevant one that
will, ultimately, keep newspapers
Keeping T&T newspapers alive
Tom Clancy, whose high-tech,
Cold War thrillers such as The Hunt
for Red October and Patriot Games
made him the most widely read and
influential military novelist of his
time, has died. He was 66.
Penguin Group (USA) said Wednes-
day that Clancy died Tuesday in Bal-
timore. The publisher did not disclose
a cause of death.
Clancy arrived on best-seller lists
in 1984 with The Hunt for Red Octo-
ber. He sold the manuscript to the
first publisher he tried, the Naval
Institute Press, which had never
bought original fiction.
A string of other best-sellers soon
followed, including Red Storm Rising,
Patriot Games, The Cardinal of the
Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger,
The Sum of All Fears, and Without
Clancy had said his dream had been
simply to publish a book, hopefully
a good one, so that he would be in
the Library of Congress catalog. Sev-
eral of his books were later made into
movies, with the latest, based on
desk-jockey CIA hero "Jack Ryan,"
set for release later this year.
His 17th novel, Command Author-
ity, is due out that same month from
GP Putnam s Sons.
Born in Baltimore on April 12, 1947
to a mailman and his wife, Clancy
entered Loyola College as a physics
major, but switched to English as a
sophomore, saying later that he wasn t
smart enough for the rigors of sci-
Ironically, his novels carried stiff
doses of scientific data and military
After graduation in 1969, he mar-
ried his wife Wanda and joined her
family s insurance business, all the
while scribbling down ideas for a
In 1979, Clancy began Patriot
Games, in which he invented his hero,
CIA agent Jack Ryan. In 1982, he put
it aside and started The Hunt For Red
October, basing it on a real incident
in November 1979, in which a Soviet
missile frigate called the Storozhevoy
attempted to defect.
In real life, the ship didn t make it,
but in Clancy s book, the defection
is a success.
By a stroke of luck, President Rea-
gan got Red October as a Christmas
gift and quipped at a dinner that he
was losing sleep because he couldn t
put the book down---a statement
Clancy later said helped put him on
the New York Times best-seller list.
It led to a string of hits, both on
the page and in Hollywood block-
busters. He even ventured into video
games with the best-selling Tom
Clancy s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier,
Tom Clancy s Splinter Cell: Convic-
tion and Tom Clancy s Splinter Cell:
"He was a consummate author,
creating the modern-day thriller, and
was one of the most visionary sto-
rytellers of our time," Penguin Group
(USA) s executive David Shanks said
in a statement Wednesday.
Clancy resided in rural Maryland,
and in 1993 he joined a group of
investors led by Baltimore attorney
Peter Angelos who bought baseball s
Baltimore Orioles from businessman
Eli Jacobs. (AP)
Tom Clancy dies at 66
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