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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Edmonds’

I call your attention to seven recent pieces about the business of news. I don’t feel strongly enough (or have enough new to say) about any of them to comment at length, but I’ll comment briefly.

Dean Starkman of Columbia Journalism Review continues to pretend that paywalls are a panacea for the news business, saying that the Washington Post needs one immediately. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that I’m wrong and paywalls are a good idea. At best, they’re only part of a solution. If they were the path to posterity, the news organizations with paywalls wouldn’t be struggling the way they are. Even if a paywall works, we need a lot more than paywalls, and the single-minded focus on paywalls is slowing the development of other solutions.

Mathew Ingram’s response to Starkman is, not surprisingly, much more insightful: “This focus on a paywall as a magic solution misses the point about the larger risks facing both the Post and the industry as a whole.” (more…)

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Just a quick post to call your attention to John Paton’s blunt but accurate appraisal of the Advance Publications’ cutbacks in staff and print frequency.

As has been extensively chronicled (including by me), Advance cut the staff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune and cut the newspaper back from daily publication to three times a week.

John acknowledges that Advance handled the whole move poorly, chewing up a lot of goodwill. But, he says, “I support them because their industry is my industry and it will not survive without dramatic, difficult and bloody change.”

If you don’t think the news business is in a fight for survival, read Rick Edmonds’ piece on how the Washington Post, one of journalism’s most iconic organizations, is faring. Read how much value newspapers’ print advertising has lost in the past six years.

I think and hope John (my boss; yeah, this looks like sucking up, but he’s right) is making the right moves to help Digital First Media and the news business find the path to a prosperous future. I hope Advance’s moves work successfully. And I hope the Post finds its path to success.

Yesterday’s news produced and delivered at high cost in print is not a business model that will survive.

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I still don’t have a lot to say about this week’s changes at TBD. But I know people who follow this blog are interested in business models for news and in the TBD experience.

So, in the spirit of TBD’s model of linking to other content, I will pass along links to other people’s analysis of the business aspects of what has happened here (I don’t agree with all of them; just passing them along):

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When the Nieman Lab tweeted yesterday that it had published my journalism predictions for 2011, I couldn’t recall what all I had predicted. I had sent my forecast a couple weeks earlier, in response to a request from Lois Beckett. I remembered predicting a few things off the top of my head, but didn’t immediately recall what I had forecast.

One of the predictions made a stronger impression with some of my tweeps:

We will see some major realignment of journalism and news-industry organizations. Most likely: the merger of ASNE and APME, mergers of some state press associations, mergers of at least two national press organizations, mergers of some reporter-beat associations. One or more journalism organizations will close. (more…)

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While I am critical of the Columbia University report, The Reconstruction of American Journalism, I am pleased that it has stirred debate about the future of journalism. Here are the most interesting takes I have seen on the report by Columbia journalism professor Michael Schudson and former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr:

Tom Grubisch ripped into Downie and Schudson in OJR: The Online Journalism Review, calling it the kind of “shallow analysis that typically informs newspaper editorials on big issues.” Be sure to read Robert Niles’ comment. He sees Downie and Schudson as speaking for news industry leaders who “chose to ignore, marginalize or even demonize voices who argued that the news industry must change its procedures, in both editorial and business operations, to compete online.” Now, Niles says, “top news company managers are working their way through the stages of grief.” The Downie/Schudson report, Niles said, represents the stages of anger and bargaining. (more…)

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