The strategic brake and accelerator for quality newspapers

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Quality newspapers aimed at up-market readers are feeling both the brake and the accelerator during this economic downturn.

As advertising dries up, the pressure to adjust editorial staffing levels intensifies. A Belgian publisher told me recently that it’s important not to compromise on the quality of content, but that it’s a legitimate discussion to talk about the quantity of content.

He also said there are value themes that quality newspapers must address: the value of proximity, economic/political news, and sports. Maybe it’s best quality newspapers focus on these high-value areas in terms of strategic development – and de-prioritise everything else.

In contrast, down-market popular newspapers that have a low reliance on advertising (25%-35%) and a low investment in editorial quality are better weathering the economic storm.