The internet cannot be blamed for the demise of newspapers, according to a book written by academics at Oxford university.
British papers are also putting themselves at risk by being “too dependent on advertising”, said the report, which was commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
The book – The Changing Business of Journalism and its Implications for Democracy – points to evidence that in countries that have a high usage of the internet, such as Scandinavia and Germany, newspapers are holding their own while generating 50 per cent of revenues from advertising.
The picture is gloomier for UK and US newspapers, where up to 80 per cent of revenue is made up from advertising, which is suffering due to a “cyclical advertising recession”, suggesting an over-reliance on ads that are more of a problem than the challenge of the internet.
The research concludes that newspapers performing the best within the age of the internet are those sponsored by the state – something that will not sit comfortably with UK paper editors who do not want to run the risk of losing their editorial independence.
Dr David Levy, co-editor of the book, wrote that there are still opportunities in journalism: “There is still time and occasion for reinventions of and new investments in quality journalism covering public affairs and offering people the information that they need to act – not simply as consumers, but also as citizens.”