A newspaper's main product is  NOT 
  news or information. 









Philip Meyer
(University of Missouri Press, 2004)

For more than thirty years, the newspaper industry has been losing readers at a slow but steady rate. News professionals are inclined to blame themselves, but the real culprit is technology and its competing demands on the public's time. 

The Internet is just the latest in a long series of new information technologies that have scattered the mass audience that newspapers once held. The trend toward smaller audiences seeking more efficient sources of more specialized information has been accelerated by this form of communication.

In The Vanishing Newspaper, Philip Meyer offers the newspaper industry a business model for preserving and stabilizing the social responsibility functions of the press in a way that could outlast technology-driven changes in media forms. This "influence model," as it is termed by Meyer, is based on the premise that a newspaper's main product is not news or information, but influence: societal influence, which is not for sale, and commercial influence, which is. Meyer's model explores how the former enhances the value of the latter.

By isolating and describing the factors that made journalism work as a business in the past, Meyer provides a model that will make it work with the changing technologies of the present and future. He backs his argument with empirical evidence, supporting key points with statistical assessments of the quality and influence of the journalist's product, as well as its effects on business success. Meyer has written this volume to be accessible to a wide audience, taking particular care to explain his statistical research and methodology. Teachers and students of journalism and business will find Meyer's research, as well as his interviews with newspaper company executives and analysts, of particular interest.

Philip Meyer is Knight Chair and Professor of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He is the author or coeditor of a number of books, including Precision Journalism: A Reporterís Introduction to Social Science Methods(2002), Assessing Public Journalism (1998), Ethical Journalism: a Guide for Students, Practitioners and Consumers(1987) and Newspaper Survival Book: An Editor's Guide to Market Research (1985). 

Meyer's latest book has been featured on Kansas City public radio KCUR with host Walt Bodine in August 2004.



"Philip Meyer has set out to prove a point: that there is a strong correlation between newspaper quality and newspaper profits. Throughout, he presents powerful evidence that good journalism is an important shareholder value that can serve more traditional shareholder interests in quarterly earnings and rising stock prices."
--Robert Giles

"Philip Meyer is highly qualified, and he has made an important effort to analyze editorial quality and profitability that deserves to be aired, debated, and built upon."--Gilbert Cranberg

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