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Past and Present of the Media Economics

Jay Huizenga and Dave Bordewyk discuss media economics with students in the Mass Media in Society class.
Jay Huizenga (left) and Dave Bordewyk discuss media economics with students in the Mass Media in Society class.

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Changes in the media industry across the United States are becoming more obvious in South Dakota, according to two guests who spoke recently to students in Mass Media in Society class. 

Dave Bordewyk, executive director of South Dakota Newspaper Association (https://www.sdna.com), and Jay Huizenga, general manager of KELO Media Group (https://www.keloland.com), talked to students about media economics in South Dakota and changes in the newspaper and broadcast industries.

Bordewyk, a SDSU alumnus, said that in today’s business climate newspaper publishers must own multiple newspapers. These clusters make the businesses economically viable. In contrast, when Bordewyk came to the South Dakota Newspaper Association in 1995, there were 110-120 publisher-owned newspapers. Today, 72 or 73 publishers own those newspapers, following consolidation and changes in ownership and management. 

A few decades ago, people relied on newspapers as the primary sources for important public information. People today get their information from a variety of online sources, including social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Bordewyk said that some small-town newspapers are making content available to readers through websites.

Bordewyk used the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader to illustrate another way the media economics have changed in this region. The Argus-Leader employed 67 people in the newsroom a few years ago; today, about 20 people work in the newsroom of South Dakota’s latest daily newspaper. He said many other newspapers are operating with fewer people in newsrooms than they employed a few years ago. 

Despite the shrinking number of people covering news, the market is still growing, according to Bordewyk. Online services are developing rapidly. Thereby, the market share has changed from printed material to digital material. Both Bordewyk and Huizenga said that the video media will be developing into a more important feature for subscribers. 

The television industry also has responded to a difficult situation, Huizenga said. The relationship between media and YouTube, for instance, can explain what actually happens in the media industry. KELO Media Group maintains a YouTube Channel, according to Huizenga.

Other platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon TV and Apple TV offer interesting content for many audiences. However, the basic television station remains limited in the contents it can broadcast. Yet, the traditional TV industry competes against all other social media companies for viewers. 

Bordewyk and Huizenga mentioned South Dakota News Watch as a positive change in today’s media industry. South Dakota News Watch offers in-depth reporting on topics that affect South Dakota and even people in neighboring states. It is the first non-profit news organization in the state, funded partially by traditional media outlets that receive access to the stories generated by the South Dakota News Watch staff.

Students also asked the guests about summer internship opportunity. Both men said that KELO and SDNA members are interested in hiring interns. For students interested in exploring internship opportunities, the School of Communication and Journalism Internship Fair is scheduled Jan. 25, 2019.  

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