Newspaper advertsing revenue, adjusted for inflation, has fallen back to where it was six decades ago. This per a an article this morning in the Statesman by Martha Gill (@Martha_Gill).

You can see in this graph by economics professor Mark Perry that after rising for over 50 years newspaper ad revenue fell off a cliff in about 2003 and then for good in about 2005. Newspaper Ad Revenue What’s the cause? NYU professor and recognized media authority, Jay Rosen, believes newspaper advertising peaked the year blogging became an option.

Techdirt writes the Internet created an attention problem drawing people to other communities of interest.

The problem that newspapers came up against wasn’t that they were suddenly giving out content online for free, but that there were very, very quickly millions of other “communities” that people could join online, such that the community of folks reading the newspaper started to go down, and with it, the attention went away.

Others believe Craigslist, Monster, E-Bay, and other Internet sites replacing classified ads stole huge ad dollars from newspapers.

For the moment, Gill goes with a quote from Perry:

It’s another one of those huge Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction.
Schumpeterian gale or not, the newspaper’s loss can be a gain for law firms who are publishing online and effectively using social media.
  • Print, wether in mainstream or trade publications, will no longer be the leading place your target audience will receive their news and information. In some cases print publications have been eliminated or cut back.
  • A vaccum has been created for legal blog content. The print publication’s decline has opened the door for citizen and open source publishing, such as a blogs.
  • Your target audience is expecting and finding exactly what they are looking for online. The Internet and blogs, in particular, with highly relevant, niche content published by authorities in their field have put at people’s finger tips detailed and authoritive information. Mainstream newspapers and trade media cannot compete with such content.
  • Traditional public relations where PR professionals had a deep rolodex of contacts working in the print and other media is no longer as valuable. Rather than incur significant costs in PR, law firm professionals can and must nurture relationships with reporters, editors, and publishers through blogs and other social media.
  • Your target audience is increasingly receiving news and information from others they trust via social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Rather than people going to a source like a newspaper, people are relying on others they trust for news. Learn how to use social media effectively and you’ll find the content your lawyers publish, ie, blog posts, being widely shared with and by your target audience.

It’s never going to be the same for lawyers looking to get cited as an authority in newspapers and trade publications. Rather than getting your content placed in traditional papers and publications, law firms are going to need to self publish via blogs and become adept in using social media to see such content get shared.

Newspaper loses open a door for law firms willing to adapt.