Journal Opinion: Changing News Landscape

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Business Journal is a much different publication today than it was in August 1984 when the first monthly edition was printed. 

Expanding to a twice-monthly publication the following year seems unremarkable in comparison to the changes that the internet would herald in the decades to follow.

Some were simple – receiving news releases via email rather than fax or snail mail. Others involved an entirely new business model – new production technology, launching our website, email newsletters, podcasts, a mobile app and whatever the digital universe brings next.

Our online edition evolves every day with video and special content beyond news updates such as the Daily BUZZ, After Hours Youngstown, Flashback and 3 Minutes With. Most content remains free to access, particularly our Brain Gain series of reports. But visitors to our website are encountering changes in how they can access premium content.

Coinciding with the recent redesign of our website, we reconfigured access levels. While our audience can register to read up to five premium articles per month with unlimited access to video programs and sponsored content, we have established paid access to premium content.

The change reflects the changing media landscape. According to studies conducted by the Pew Research Center, digital consumption of news continues to grow. During the fourth quarter of 2020, monthly unique visitors to websites operated by legacy news organizations such as The New York Times or digital native publishers such as Axios, was up 11% from the same period in 2019.  

For years, print advertising was able to support providing content online at no cost. That time has passed. In 2020, for the first time, publicly traded newspaper companies made more money from circulation than advertising, according to Pew.

The business reality is simple.

Newspaper publishers pay employees to generate and distribute content – both editorial and advertising – and have production, back office expenses and overhead just like every other business.

So we’ve kept it simple.

Our audience can subscribe for digital-only access for $5 per month. That provides unlimited access to all premium articles and online exclusives. The print and digital subscription costs $42 per year and provides unlimited access to all content online as well as delivery of the print publication. (No, we’re not bad at math. We’re proud of our print edition. We want our audience to enjoy it and patronize our advertisers.)     

We know this represents big changes from the way The Business Journal operated in the past. The media and economic landscape today presents a far different terrain from August 1984, or even five years ago. (Who could have imagined a Youngstown without a locally owned daily newspaper, or a Mahoning Valley without General Motors Lordstown?)

Thank you for staying with us on this journey.