WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama acknowledged the problems facing the US newspaper industry on Wednesday, ironically in an interview that was distributed via online retail giant Amazon’s Kindle e-reader.
With the Internet dominant and print sales in decline, Obama said traditional media was grappling with a new reality and, much like the manufacturing and retail sectors, the old way of doing business was gone forever.
“People trying to get into the middle class are having a tougher and tougher time,” Obama said.
“You see that in every profession. You see that in journalism. It used to be there were local newspapers everywhere.
“If you wanted to be a journalist, you could really make a good living working for your hometown paper.
“Now you have a few newspapers that make a profit because they’re national brands, and journalists having to scramble to piece together a living, in some cases as freelancers and without the same benefits that they had in a regular job for a paper.”
The US newspaper industry has suffered the same problems which have hit papers worldwide, notably falling sales and a collapse in advertising revenues due to the growth of online classified ads.
Several major metropolitan newspapers have closed their doors in recent years or ceased publishing print editions. Others have slashed editorial staff.
“What’s true in journalism is true in manufacturing and is true in retail,” Obama said. “What we have to recognize is that those old times aren’t coming back.”