IN A recent issue of the beloved comic book, Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, quits his job as a journalist at the Daily Planet because the paper has gutted its news coverage. Is the outlook for newspapers really so dire that even superheroes have given up on them? Ever since 2006, when The Economist asked on its cover who had “killed the newspaper”, the industry’s pains have only intensified. Advertising has plunged. Readers have kept moving online. Revenues of newspapers continued to fall, dropping to $34 billion last year in America—only about half of what they were in 2000.
Yet things have started to look a bit less grim, particularly in America. Revenues from advertising are still falling, but those from circulation have at last started to stabilise. At some papers, such as the New York Times, circulation revenues this year are forecast to offset the decline in advertising for the first time in at least five years.