Fewer and fewer actual newspapers are being sold. The trend is well established, but the lockdown has accelerated the decline into a death slide. Meanwhile, more and more titles face an uncertain future: with the Barclay Brothers’ empire beginning to teeter, the Telegraph titles are looking for a buyer. The Murdoch press is dependent on Creepy Uncle Rupe; when he shuffles off, it may not be worth the candle to his successors.
There was more. “News UK's The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times confirm they won't make their print figures public (Entirely coincidentally pre-Covid this was due to be the month the Sun lost its title as UK's biggest selling newspaper after 40+ years to Daily Mail. Now we’ve ... no idea)”. So we can assume the Sun and Mail are neck and neck.
Yes, these titles exercise influence via their online presence, but it isn’t enough to sustain them in the long term. Nor is it enough to sustain the army of obscenely overpaid hacks and pundits for whom those at the bottom of the journalism pile are going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice: more furloughs and redundancies are now inevitable.
The paper reviews need to stop, unless they can be conducted by those not captured by the press establishment. Circulations are vanishing, and they will vanish that much more rapidly when readers figure out that the press’ urging of ending the Covid-19 lockdown was to save their own skins, and not for the benefit of those readers.
There might even be the odd class action lawsuit - just to assist a few titles’ journey from this world into the next. Nor will the future be any rosier for any new media outlets that have hitched their wagon, overtly or otherwise, to that of the press. There are going to be a lot of people having to figure out other ways to keep themselves in the style to which rather too many of them have become accustomed. Like finding themselves a real job for once.
As our alleged Prime Minister’s most admired predecessor might have put it, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning.