Newspapers and the Decline in the Use of Traveller’s Cheques

September 18, 2014 by Thad McIlroy

I’m thinking about two very different products each apparently well on the road to oblivion.

Here’s a graph (roughly) illustrating the decline in the use of traveller’s cheques (aka “travelers checks” and several other spellings). There was tremendous growth through the mid-1990s. The drop-off is severe. Wikipedia details that “travelers cheques are no longer widely accepted and cannot easily be cashed, even at the banks that issue the cheques.”

fredgraph

OK, use of traveller’s cheques declined by two-thirds in two decades. Were many jobs were lost as a result? Issuing traveller’s cheques was always part of more broad financial services.

I’ve got a post on The Future of Newspapers on this site. It uses data that trails off in the last decade. Subsequently things get worse. Here’s a chart showing U.S. newspaper circulation from the beginning of WWII till 2011:

us news circ-1940-2011

Here’s a chart illustrating newspaper ad revenue from before most of you were born projecting roughly till when many of us will die. The shape of the curve isn’t so different from those traveller’s cheques.

newspaper-ad-revenue

Let’s add to the chart stats on newspaper employment through 2012:

NewspaperAds&Employment2

Is there a point to all of this?

Yes. Newspaper employment decreased by some 50% since 1990. 200,000 jobs were lost.

I understand why moving news to the web is exciting. But I wonder about the 200,000 stories from those whose jobs were lost.

That’s all. I wonder.

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