Does the trade press have a future? We should all hope so, but I fear it is vulnerable.
In the old days, trade papers were much more than just places for young hacks to cut their teeth. (I started at Money Marketing…every single reporter there went on to a national paper).
These papers held often mysterious industries to account. They broke stories that became huge news. They were respected, valued parts of the journalistic scene.
All publications have found life hard, especially lately, but I think the trade press has suffered most of all.
One PR boss said the other day that he thought their days were numbered, noting how open some of them are about the collapse in the divide between editorial and adverts.
“They used to be subtle about it,” he said. “Now it is fairly open – if your client takes out an ad, we will run your press release.”
If these papers/websites do disappear altogether, that’s one less avenue for hacks to find work and flaks to place their wares.
Anyone with a bright idea for what the solution is here should please speak up.