Is Print Media Dying Out as Fast as People Claim?

July 16, 2014 by No Comments

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One of the most amazing things about Khalil ur Rehman, a first generation Pakistani immigrant who’s been publishing the Urdu Times for over 20 years isn’t his humble work space nor his bare bones operation that pushes out 14 editions of a weekly newspaper, but the fact that he has no “digital first” strategy. 

In his Queens office, which now has two computers, a fax machine and a phone, but used to have a printing press, the F-train rumbles past every few minutes and water from a toilet above whooshes past in a pipe next to the publisher’s desk. 

Although it can be quite costly to make print editions, considering that the average price per page for high-yield ink cartridges is roughly about 3.4 cents for black and 10.4 cents for four colors, Rehman not only makes it work, but is looking to expand. 

Despite the heralded death of print media, his weekly paper run in nine cities across the U.S. with standalone editions in Canada and the United Kingdom, and now he’s looking to take it overseas.

“Now, I’m trying to see if I can start an edition in the Middle-East,” he said in early March. “I’m travelling there next week.”

What’s also interesting is that the Urdu Times isn’t the only paper defying the death of print media. 

In New York City, there are nearly 100 ethnic newspapers that have a cumulative readership of 2.94 million, which is about one third of the city’s entire population. 

What’s more, at least 21 new ethnic newspaper have been launched in the last two years alone. 

However, this doesn’t mean that print media isn’t in trouble. The Observer and The Guardian have been having trouble because of the decline of print media, but were able to offset the difference with their digital media.

According to author Ross Dawson, the American newspaper will become extinct by 2017, when it brings in less than two and a half percent of total advertising revenue. 

So the question really is whether the Urdu Times is an anomaly — an exception to the rule — or whether print media is really dying out as fast as people claim?

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