Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Read All About It

How newspapers got into such a fix, and where they go from here
December 29, 2007; Page A1
Wall Street Journal

It was the fall of 1999, and the newspaper I edited, The Wall Street Journal, was awash in money. Thanks to the dot-com boom and the lush advertising it generated, we were running the presses at full tilt nearly every day, yet had to turn away ads for lack of space.

Even as the good times rolled, two non-newspaper names kept coming up. I recall being stunned to learn that the main place where our own readers checked stock prices was the finance section of Yahoo. A couple of kids from Stanford had launched a search engine called Google. Already, many of my colleagues were using it.

Less than six months later, the tech bubble began to deflate. Hundreds of dot-coms died, taking with them their ad budgets. But the Web industry pushed forward, and within a few years it shredded newspaper business models that had held sway for decades. [Click for more]

Print Is Dead: Long Live Print

We all know by now that the future of media is online, and I'd be the last person to deny the significance of the changes wrought by the Internet. But I think one of the most interesting things to emerge in the media business this year will be a comeback of sorts for print.

Print, of course, hasn't exactly gone away – magazines and newspapers still account for more then a third of worldwide ad revenues – but the chatter in the industry suggests its death is just around the corner.

In the U.S. especially, the newspaper business appears to be in a free-fall, with many big papers reporting year-over-year revenue and circulation declines of ten per cent or more - shocking numbers indeed for century-old businesses. The big magazine companies, and especially kingpin Time Inc., are under ever-growing financial pressure; nobody would be surprised if the new CEO of Time Warner sold the magazine unit.

Yet the story in the field, especially outside of the big coastal media hubs, is quite different from what the media news websites would lead you to believe. [Click for MORE]

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