The online media such as Internet, newspaper and I-phone have swallowed traditional media; as a result, the subscription rates have gradually declined so that South Korea has one of the lowest subscription rates among OECD countries. Many experts and journalists described a miserable situation that many printed media, especially newspapers, faced the issue of whether to stop or continue printed news. The Sookmyung Times (SMT), as one printed media in SMU, visited Le Figaro, the most popular newspaper company in France, and met Éditeur Adjoint Robert Mergui to look for a way for printed newspaper to survive.
Printed Media Crisis
In France, Le Figaro also felt the same as Korean newspapers regarding the crisis printed media has faced, and in need of solutions they have tried many methods for survival. SMT met an editor of Le Figaro and asked him how his company tries to solve the crisis. He firstly mentioned why printed newspaper encountered the problem whether to disappear or survive. The development of Internet brought about wider, easier, and more convenient access to information and news than ever before, and appearance of smartphones and I-Phones rendered printed news papers valueless and useless. The profits from subscriptions were 50 percent newspapers; therefore, the company faced a financial problem, too. Also, advertising moved to more profitable Internet and television, to which many more people are exposed. The financial problem was aggravated by the increased paper price. Another crisis comes from the contents. In other words, the Internet has no limitation to convey the news and scoops to all over the world, but printed newspaper has a certain time to its publication. Contents remaining for morning newspaper are limited because people already watched TV or searched on the Internet for hot news and their details.
Yang Seung Mock, a President of Korean Society for Journalism & Communications Studies, said that there are many media that exist in this digital world; however, people NEED “valuable and worthwhile reading materials.” Also, he emphasized that only old printed media with a long history, tradition, and experience can satisfy people, so it would be the best way to print newspaper to produce high-quality and characteristic articles for sustainable development of printed media and continued trust from the public. In Le Figaro, the editor also mentioned that the depth of printed newspaper basically differs from the online newspaper, since all the journalists in Le Figaro analyze much more deeply to provide better articles with readers, and they seek many materials and references for one article. Le Figaro also invites celebrities or popular scholars for debate and editorials, then they talk about some issues and write their opinions on newspapers. Many French readers pay for their opinions and knowledge on the Internet. Also, Le Figaro bought on-line websites for Sports, Weather, and Culture which newspapers cannot completely cover in detail; therefore, thewebsite supplies the information via the Internet and the newspaper covers many deep and important issues. Another breakthrough is a magazine whose contents are fresh and professional that everyday newspapers couldn’t offer . And Le Figaro is planning to improve the Health, Golf, and Wine parts for satisfying the needs and interest of their major customers who are old aged and wealthy.
Survival for Papers
SMT asked the editor, “What do you think of the function of printed media, especially newspaper?” The editor told that all kinds of media keep their own problems and they make a way to figure them out. Therefore, the audiences for each media are declined and fraternized due to their lifestyle, interest, or other reasons. He emphasized that there are audiences for newspaper and printed media. Also Le Figaro is a private company whose purpose is making a profit. That’s why we create on-line materials and magazines, and ponder about the way to get profits. However, all the trials and solutions such as appearance of the website and magazines are all because of the survival of printed newspaper, which has a long and unbeatable history and tradition of France Le Figaro.