Print media’s death exaggerated if you look at the numbers

MY ARTICLE last week reminded me of arguably America's greatest writer, Mark Twain.

He was as famous for his tongue in cheek quotable quotes, as he was for his contributions to literature.

The quote I was reminded of was: "I never let schooling interfere with my education."

Twain came to mind again after I read of a recent conference in Sydney at which Julian Clarke, CEO of News Corp Australia (the Murdoch press), spoke out in praise of printed media.

He could well have channelled Twain and commented that, "Reports of (its) death have been greatly exaggerated".

Even as an inveterate reader of newspapers, I was shocked at the numbers.

Fifteen million Murdoch newspapers are printed each week and their Sunday editions are read by 4.7 million people, out of a population of around 23 million. That's 20%!

Clarke and other speakers drew a comparison with the top-rating television programs of the last 12 months: 2.7 million watched the AFL grand final; 2.6 million the third State of Origin; 2.3 million the My Kitchen Rules finale; and 2.2 million The Block finale.

Apparently there's a lesson for businesses looking to advertise in this too: 22% of advertising dollars go to print media, presumably because advertisers think it works.

Here in Gladstone, where according to the latest 2011 Census just under 34,000 live - a fifth children, your local Observer is read by 40,000 people a week, pretty much emulating the feat of Murdoch's Sunday papers but on an averaged daily basis.

All this was not only amazing but comforting to me.

I spend work days sitting on my date staring at a computer screen.

The last place I want to be reading my daily dose of news is that computer screen.

There's nothing more pleasurable than putting your feet up, sucking on a good coffee and devouring news article, the good, the bad, the biased, the unbiased, the just plain puerile each and every weekend, as I do.



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