The 2012 Annual Publishers' Convention commenced with an inspirational keynote breakfast and presentation by Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. Jones grew up in a newspaper family and is the author of several books on the newspaper industry, including his most recent work, Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy.
Jones presented a number of reasons why he believes newspapers can and must succeed. Since 2008, the newspaper industry shifted into crisis mode, which forced the industry to change. According to Jones, this change, brought on by the recession, may have saved the newspaper industry. The recession forced news media companies to re-examine their businesses and to better position themselves financially. Newspapers "still have dominance in our communities as the news utility," said Jones.
Jones emphasized that many people are rooting for the newspaper industry and want it to not just survive, but also thrive. As is evidenced at many news media companies, a strong newspaper-reading audience still exists, and this audience is willing to pay for the news.
Jones’ final talking point focused on the next generation of journalists. Young people still want to be journalists. In fact, they're more passionate than ever. "Their passion for news is our strength," said Jones. In light of industry changes, journalism schools have become our partners, creating the next generation of reporters and news professionals.
Jones urged the audience to invest in its readers who remain the future of the newspaper industry. He closed by adding that we, as news media companies, have a social mission and that mission is to serve the community.