The technological revolution is disrupting the business model of my industry, media, but also many others. The web is connecting sellers and consumers in new ways, and various technological advancements seem to be eliminating many functions previously performed by human workers.
I wonder where the jobs are going to be in the future.
Of particular concern is the retail business.
For one, retail advertising has been the lifeblood of local media. Subscription revenue pays for a minority fraction of the cost of the journalism and its delivery, whether in printed form or over the internet. Commercial media has mostly been financed by advertising.
Every brick-and-mortar retail establishment that shrinks or closes is a blow to the revenue stream of a newspaper or other local media outlet. Dillard’s. Sears. Alco. Kmart. OfficeMax. J.C. Penney. Each a significant retailer in Hutchinson and each a significant user of mass media advertising.
But of course the disruption is multifaceted. The effect on media is but one ripple effect.
Most obviously, the closure of local retail stores – both big and small – means the loss of jobs, low wage though many may be. And it changes the whole complexity of a community.
Hutchinson for decades was a retail hub, serving a market region stretching out well into the southwestern reaches of the state. The size of its downtown and wide, four-lane Main Street attest to the hub of activity that was here. Just look at any old photos, cars and people packed into a bustling downtown.
Even after downtown declined with the advent of Wal-Mart and the cornfield mall, with department stores and big box retailers, Hutchinson remained a draw for shoppers. Dillard’s closing was a huge blow – and so unnecessary…