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Newspaper's opaque purpose


Newspapers do not care as much about the news as we like to think.

Their core purpose is to sell newspapers rather than writing the best news stories.

Could it be that when a newspaper runs a headline that says,

"Thousands killed in Bangladesh. Pictures"

it is aiming to grab our attention in the same way as we slow down to have a good look while driving past a motor accident?

By reporting about disasters or looming disasters, papers tap into an anxiety which we ease when we buy the paper to find out more.

Either that or we make ourselves feel slightly better by conforming that someone else is worse off than us.

Or the third is selling the ideal, lifestyles of the rich and famous, so we can dream how it might be to be like them.

These emotional triggers complemented with offers such as,

"Hate your boss. Find a new job today"

when the weekly career supplement is published or,

"Win millions in jackpot"

all tap in to the newspaper's core purpose. Sell more.

Newspapers will argue that they give their readers what they want but if that was the case the industry wouldn't be declining as per the infographic below. An ever declining pool of newspaper readers is getting older every year and not being replaced by younger readers.

Papers and publishing are filled with conflicts such as balancing editorial vs advertising vs paid for editorial. Tricky areas to navigate as the world becomes more transparent.

That slightly uneasy feeling we get having just completed a newspaper and wondering, "is that it?", is indicative of the gap between the actual purpose and the espoused purpose of newspapers. This incongruence is what is leading to the decline in the industry.

As we become more connected, we are ever more demanding that when we are the customer our purpose is aligned with that of the people we buy from.

If not, we will quickly uncover a better option and take advantage of it.

The Decline of Newspapers – An infographic by the team at Clickinks

Newspaper headlines are designed to sell newspapers not report the

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