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July 26, 2007


John Cass

I think the point about newspapers changing is critical. They are not losing audience, its just migrating. So now it is all about a new business model, and maybe getting away from paper.

Tom Foremski

Jen, these are interesting topics to investigate. I feel the most important topic that underlies all the others is: how will news organizations make money? It is one thing to have a rising readership but another to be able to make money. If you cannot monetize your traffic, increased traffic just means higher operating costs and adds to the pressure of cutting costs--which often means cutting jobs. "Reader Boom Leads to More Newsroom Job Cuts" is a potential headline...

shel israel

You make a good case, Jen, but these numbers don't quite convince me. First, which papers are enjoying the circulation increases you spea k of? Are the the hometown weeklies and large nationals? Or are they the major metros like the SF Chronicle and Boston Globe, whose financials are indicative of a death spiral? To Tom's point, how are they adjusting business models in a world that eliminates paid circulation revenue? Can they afford the paper, the presses, the armadas of trucks delivering them? Why cannot a new organization, not burdened with all that baggage step in and run a faster, more agile course. History would support that disruption is more likely than the transformation yo9u speak of.

John Cass

Jen, I think I agree with Shel that a new organization can step in and be successful in the same space as traditional media. But that we have not seen too many examples of new broad based online newspapers in recent years. That may be because the model does not work online, in that the web because of search favors niche. However, I know there is a lot to be said for having the sort of investigative journalism that papers like the Boston Globe have on a local basis. Maybe Jay Rosen's model on a local level makes sense for the old media publications?

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