What is the best business strategy for newspapers?

By Péter Bajomi-Lázár, BBS Budapest. What is the best business strategy for newspapers? Should they seek neutral reporting, or should they subscribe to a cause, a principle, even a political party? Should they be objective, or should they be engaged? In the Anglo-Saxon countries, where the so-called objectivity doctrine first emerged before it was ‘exported’ to the European continent, many newspapers attempted to report as neutrally as possible in an effort to reach many readers. “Topics and programs should appeal to the largest possible number,” writes Svennik Høyer (1998) when studying the emergence of the mass newspaper in the United States, “even if that meant that no one got what they really wanted. These methods combined diminished color, style and subjectivity…” Further, he observes that “[to] harvest the full potentialities of an expanding market, editors had to aggregate the attention of readers across social and political barriers and make a product that appealed to many without offending anyone.” In other words, most outlets did not try to please as many people as possible, but to displease as few…

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