David Frum

12.07.12

Print Media Just Won't Die

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Vanity Fair has a fascinating look at the 114 day printers strike that paralyzed the New York City gossip, advertising, and news scenes back in 1962-63. It tells the story of innovation and stubborn union leadership, but it also buried the lede:

Print’s loss was television’s gain. During the 1962–63 strike, many newspaper readers shifted their loyalty to the television, permanently. Local TV news stations sensed an opportunity and grabbed it. WCBS added $50,000 a week to its news budget and hired 18 newspaper reporters. At WNBC, says Pressman, “we doubled the size of the newscast. We went to a half-hour, which was Nirvana.” Gay Talese concluded simply, “Some New Yorkers would learn to live without newspapers and would never return as regular readers.”

I've grown up with "print media is dying." Well, it seems it's been dying for 50 years. Stubborn thing, that dead tree media.