World's editors 'optimistic' about sweeping changes to newspaper industry

The majority of newspaper editors are optimistic about the future of their titles and four out of five believe their entire staff will be producing stories across all platforms within five years.

Those are two of the findings of the second annual Newsroom Barometer survey produced by Zogby for World Editors Forum and Thomson Reuters, which polled the views of 704 senior newspaper editors around the world in March.

The survey found that 86 per cent thought integrated print and online newsrooms would become the norm across the industry and that 58 per cent saw the decline in young readership as the biggest threat to newspapers.

Despite the threats from new media to traditional business models, 85 per cent of editors were either somewhat optimistic or very optimistic about the future of their papers – the same figure as last year.

Two-thirds of editors who took part in the survey admitted that ‘some editorial functions will be outsourced’in the future and 56 per cent though that in the future all news would be free, up from 48 per cent last year

Online will be the most common reading platform according to 44 per cent of editors, compared to 41 per cent last year; 31 per cent said print, 12 per cent said mobile and seven per cent said e-paper. Support for print is dwindling – 35 per cent cited it in this question last year. Though not all were as certain and 11 per cent of editors remain ‘unsure’about the future’s most popular medium.

Training journalists in multimedia was the number concern for 35 per cent of journalists while recruiting more journalists was the top worry 31 per cent.

Though editors broadly agreed that print will become less important, two thirds believed the importance of opinion and analysis pages will increase.

Bertrand Pecquerie, director of the World Editors Forum said: ‘The survey shows that editors-in-chief are already multi-media minded and that they have the capacity to carry out the transition from print-only to print and online.’

Monique Villa, managing director of Reuters Media said: ‘The poll demonstrates continued optimism for the future of the newspaper industry, with editors ready to face the huge complexities of embracing a multimedia world.’

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