Not down, not out, not yet

February 20, 2009

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What with reports of newspapers being in survival mode, websites like Paper Cuts twisting the blade, Twitter channels like The Media is Dying dancing on the grave and research that reads like an obituary, any sane journalist must be thinking of shutting up shop, going home and seriously mulling their next move – out of journalism. But it’s not all grim. If this report in TIME is anything to go by, we should all be looking at a move east,

In India alone, 11.5 million new newspaper readers were added in 2008, and ad growth is chugging along at around 10% — less robust than over the past two years but still remarkably strong. "Many people can’t enjoy their morning cup of tea without their newspaper," says Rahul Kansal, chief marketing officer for the Times of India, the world’s most read English-language broadsheet and a major player among a whopping 64,998 newspapers registered across India. link

And it’s not just India. Indonesia, China and Japan all boast healthy and growing newspaper sales – and English language editions. However, it’s not all good news. In a week that saw one journalist killed and another attacked in the region,

The world’s most fertile ground for newspapers is also the most dangerous for reporters. In 2008, 26 Asian journalists were killed in the line of duty, according to the International Press Institute, making Asia even deadlier than the Middle East for the fourth estate. Some 54 Asian journalists are languishing behind bars, says media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. Those disheartening statistics underline, however, the importance of Asia’s newspapers as a check on the excesses of power — something that should never go out of fashion. link

Photo by Sailing "Footprints: Real to Reel" (Ronn ashore)