Interesting factoid

The Standard Industrial Classification, or SIC, is a 72-year old system of classifying industries in the US. It was replaced twelve years ago by the NAICS, or North American Industry Classification System. Under the SIC system, newspapers are listed as under Manufacturing, SIC 2711. On its face this seems an anachronism but the explanation makes sense:

Establishments primarily engaged in publishing newspapers, or in publishing and printing newspapers. These establishments carry on the various operations necessary for issuing newspapers, including the gathering of news and the preparation of editorials and advertisements, but may or may not perform their own printing. Commercial printing is frequently carried on by establishments engaged in publishing and printing newspapers, but, even though the commercial printing may be of major importance, such establishments are included in this industry. Establishments not engaged in publishing newspapers, but which print newspapers for publishers, are classified in Industry Group 275. News syndicates are classified in Services, Industry 7383.

News syndicates” are

Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing news, pictures, and features and in supplying news reporting services to newspapers and periodicals. [Including:]

  • News correspondents, independent
  • News feature syndicates
  • News pictures, gathering and distributing

So newspapers are “manufacturers” because they have dead tree editions. If you do not have dead trees getting splattered with ink, you’re in Division I: Services, Major Group 73: Business Services, Industry Group 738 Miscellaneous Business Services, 7383 News Syndicates. I guess that’s the SIC I’d use.

Under NAICS, things are a bit more complex as they take the Internet into account. For example, 511110 is Newspaper Publishers which may publish in print or electronic form. Exclusively electronic are 519130 Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals.

Now you know.