–submitted by Valerie Renk
Paul Fanlund told Rotarians March 1 print media is alive and well. Fanlund is publisher of the The Capital Times, and he served the Madison print media trifecta as Wisconsin State Journal Editor and Madison Media Partners VP Operations prior to that.
“I’ve worked in the same building over 40 years but for three companies,” Fanlund said.
Looking forward, Fanlund consulted with leaders of all three media organizations, who report legacy media may have some areas of decline but will still be relevant.
Statewide, 84 percent of Wisconsin adults read local print or digital newspapers. A surprising number, 28, newspapers are published five times a week or more; 194 total papers are staffed by 8,950 people.
Print news challenges include youth leaning toward digital platforms, cost/availability of newsprint, plus delivery issues. And digital offers immediacy, intimacy, and flexibility with audio and video enhancements.
Still, Fanlund says he doesn’t buy that old day journalism was better because more people were doing it.
“A lot of the positions not there anymore were not doing the front-line reporting; you may see more typos now, but editors are prioritizing that front line reporting,” he says. “We sometimes worked in packs covering the same story. Good work is done today to avoid that mentality.“
Madison is lucky to have multiple excellent newsrooms and a well-educated readership. We need community support for events, consideration from advertisers, and knowing we are building our success on the size of our audience, not print circulations.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/EJ9z84DB2V4.