Print editions keep Albuquerque publications in business

By Edmundo Carrillo / CJ 475 Reporter
Posted Nov. 1, 2012

If you think print journalism is dead, think again.

Newsweek announced that as of Jan. 1, 2013, they will no longer have a printed version of the magazine but will go to a completely online, paid-subscription format.

Print publications are safe — for now
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By Edmundo Carrillo

Hear what representatives of the Journal and Albuquerque The Magazine have to say about online news.

Unlike Newsweek, the print editions of the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque The Magazine are not in any danger. As a matter of fact, the print edition of the Journal is how the organization makes a profit. Donn Friedman, assistant managing editor of technology for the Albuquerque Journal, said the newspaper charges 30 times as much to advertise in the print edition as it does for the online edition. He said the reason the rate is so much higher for print is because consumers spend more time with a physical edition of a newspaper.

"With digital products, we really haven't found a way to get people in this habit that they have with the printed product — which is picking it up, bringing it in the house and spending time with it," Friedman said. "The average time someone spends with a newspaper is 45 minutes, and we're lucky if we can get someone to stay on the website for four minutes."

Friedman said because the Journal charges so much more to advertise in print, they could not afford to go to a completely online format.

"It (online news) doesn't support the newsroom and news-gathering operations that we're used to having in the news business," Friedman said. "We are managing print for profit and online for growth."

Kate Krause, professor of economics at the University of New Mexico, said the Albuquerque Journal is not in danger of seeing a significant drop in revenue because they don't have any competition in Albuquerque.

"As far as print, it (the Albuquerque Journal) is the only newspaper out there," Krause said. "Newsweek is not so safe, it has a lot more competition. When you have a lot of competition you have more price pressure, so you have to keep your price as low as Time magazine or someone else in order to attract a customer base. The Albuquerque Journal doesn't have a lot of price pressure from competition."

Where national magazines are seeing a drop in readership, Albuquerque The Magazine has seen a rise in readership over the past few years.

"We've actually seen an uptick in our pages, in our subscribers and in our readers," Lexi Petronis, editor-in-chief of Albuquerque The Magazine, said. "When I first started here in 2005, we were a very small magazine. We were only 96 pages and now every issue is more than 300, so it's just getting bigger — and we haven't faltered at all."

Friedman said he believes the interactive elements of a newspaper will keep them in business.

"I believe that print will always have a role in the delivery of news," Friedman said. "Even if it's just picking up the newspaper and bringing it in the house you have interaction, and when you have that interaction you have the ability to communicate with (the reader) both editorial and advertising messages."

Petronis said readers of her magazine will always want to read a physical copy.

"I think people here want to pick up something tangible and see their neighbors and friends and see what's going on," she said.