Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer


Opportunities & Threats: National Press

Ray Snoddy's article in the Publishing Partners Guide 2018

Ray Snoddy

Posted on: 02 February 2018


Threats to national newspapers are obvious and persistent and barely need listing. Print, which still brings in most of the money, continues to decline while simultaneously the US technology giants scoop up all the growth in the digital advertising market. It would be easy to get depressed after stirring in fake news, alternative facts and the self-destructive stance of the right-wing press turning its back on the next generation via uncritical cheer-leading for Brexit.

It would be easy to become depressed – but wrong.

Opportunities are opening up for newspapers both through their own actions, but also geo-political moves on many fronts against what is increasingly seen as monopolistic, and socially damaging behaviour by the billionaire Silicon Valley players.

Fake news online provides a heaven-sent opportunity for newspapers to stand above the internet deluge with properly curated information verified by professional journalists – as long as resources continue to be provided to create trustworthy journalism.

In the extreme case of Trump in the US, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are all reporting record numbers of subscriptions in a “flight to quality”.

A similar trend could gain momentum in the UK, albeit it in a more nuanced way in a very competitive market.

In a sign of the times, Digital Minister Matt Hancock felt almost apologetic for having to insist publicly that “objective reality exists”. It was incredibly important to hang on to such a principle in the “unregulated space” of the social media – and important too for the future of newspapers.

The tide also seems to be turning against the idea that the tech giants are merely platforms pumping out other people’s content with limited responsibility for it.

The concept that they too are publishers, with attendant responsibilities, is gaining force and could soon be enshrined in law.

Google protests that it comes in peace, wants the best possible partnerships with existing publishers while hiring ever-growing thousands of moderators to take down child abuse and other violent and offensive material from its YouTube subsidiary.

Facebook is changing its financial reporting rules to book sales in the country where they occurred rather than routing them through cities such as Dublin to minimise tax.

Pressure should also grow on the acquiescence of the tech giants to the ad-blocking software which limits the revenue potential of newspapers online.

Changing official attitudes to the likes of Google and Facebook, and the extra resulting costs they will have to take on-board, should help to even up the commercial battle in the marketplace.

Could it be that we are now seeing the high-water mark for both fake news and the unfettered power of the tech giants, to the benefit of national newspapers?

“Fake news online provides a heaven-sent opportunity for newspapers to stand above the internet deluge.”

About Ray Snoddy
(Details last updated: 20 July 2017)

Raymond Snoddy is a journalist, author and media commentator. He was the media editor at the Times for seven years and, before that, he spent 19 years at the FT. He has presented BBC’s NewsWatch, Channel 4’s Hard News and Sky News’ Media Monthly. Raymond has also written a number of books on the media. He is also the co-editor of the recently published book: Brexit, Trump and the Media.

comments powered by Disqus

Most read on InPublishing

These are the most read stories on the InPublishing website over the last 14 days, in order from the top.


Events: no longer an add-on

Ciar Byrne
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Building affiliate revenue streams: dos and don’ts

Keith Walker
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Pet magazines

Alan Geere
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Language lessons

Peter Sands
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Musings from my sun lounger

James Evelegh
Posted on: 9 August 2018

How to boost your branded content offer

Graham Hayday
Posted on: 19 July 2018

Off The Page

David Hepworth
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Paywalls: 7 top tips

Jim Foster
Posted on: 24 July 2018

This list is based on data from Google Analytics, and is refreshed every 24 hours. (Last updated: 18/08/2018 07:40)

Find out more about

Featured job

Chief Executive Officer
Salary: On application
NewstrAid Benevolent Fund
Bishps Stortford

Featured in InPublishing Jobs

InPub Weekly: Sign-up

Click here to sign up for our free weekly email newsletter:

Sign up now!

Magazine registration

Next Top Tips Webinar

Paid Content Strategies: Q & A

2.30-3.30pm (BST), Monday 17 September 2018

Peter Houston

Webinar sponsored by

Publishing Partners Guide

Guide to paid-content