March 24th, 2007

Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination

by

There seem to be two principal reactions to the collapse of the print classified business that is destroying the print newspaper business. The first reaction is to insist, as San Francisco columnist David Lazarus does, that people should pay for the news. The second reaction is evident in the report from Tim O’Reilly about trouble at the San Francisco Chronicle:

Apparently, Phil Bronstein, the editor-in-chief, told staff in a recent “emergency meeting” that the news business “is broken, and no one knows how to fix it.” (“And if any other paper says they do, they’re lying.”)

The reality is that they are both half right.

It is true that the newsPAPER business is broken. But let’s be clear about what is actually broken. Newspapers were once the most efficient means for connecting private buyers and sellers (merchandise, jobs, real estate, etc.) in a defined geographic region — for decades, local newspapers’ monopoly control of this channel paid for local journalism. Then came the Internet and Craigslist, which were much more efficient for this purpose. You know this story well enough by now.

It is also true that if the the professional practice of local journalism is to survive — and by this I mean people who do original reporting on a regular basis and whose work is trustworthy because it adheres to a known standard (i.e. NOT a free-for-all of citizen journalists, most of whom will never put on their shoes and socks to go out and actually REPORT, i.e. fact gathering) — then citizens of a locality are going to have to proactively value this service.

BUT…it is not correct that we can expect people to pay for the news directly online. There is just too much free information, even if most of it is no substitute for the full-time work of journalists doing original fact gathering. I’m NOT saying ALL of it, because there are many bloggers who do original reporting, but the reality is that most do not, AND the standards for accuracy and fairness, while evolving, are far from clear. And let’s face it — there are limits to what the most dedicated citizen journalist can and will do without compensation in their free time without formal support.

It is also incorrect that “no one knows how to fix” the news business. What the news business and the entire media business are suffering from most right now is a failure of imagination. Nobody imagined that somebody would be so recklessly uncapitalistic as to create a website where people could post classified ads for free. Nobody imagined that an online software company specializing in information retrieval, but which produced no information of its own, could create the largest market for small business advertising that the world has ever seen.

So how can the news business be reinvented? Dave Winer has some fantastic ideas. So does Doc Searls. I found the seed of an idea in this clip from Tim O’Reilly:

We talk about creative destruction, and celebrate the rise of blogging as citizen journalism and Craigslist as self-service advertising, but there are times when something that seemed great in theory arrives in reality, and you understand the downsides. I have faith both in the future and in free markets as a way to get there, but sometimes the road is hard. If your local newspaper were to go out of business, would you miss it? What kinds of jobs that current newspapers do would go undone?

ewspapers are mourning the loss of life-giving classified revenue to Craigslist. And citizens like Tim O’Reilly are mourning the anticipated loss of local newspaper journalism. And we don’t think anyone is going to pay for the news. But — what if people are still willing to pay for classified advertising? Stay with me here.

If you login to the San Francisco Chronicle’s website to place a classified ad, here are your options:

sf-chronicle-classifieds.jpg

We all know the problem with these options. Even notwithstanding the availability of a free online-only text ad, the inevitable conclusion is that you’re better off using Craigslist. It’s free. You can post over and over again to keep your listing current. And everyday there are more people checking Craigslist and fewer people checking the Chronicle’s classifieds.

BUT…what if we introduce another factor into this equation. I’ve argued that journalism should become nonprofit, like NPR, because the reality is that the journalism we all value as citizens — the kind that brings down administrations (not that it’s done much for us lately, but that’s another story) — has never been a for-profit endeavor. It just rode along with the for-profit business. But let’s put aside the issue of profitability for a moment. The critical element in the NPR model is that it’s driven to a large degree by DONATIONS from people who value the civic service it provides.

So here’s the idea (finally) — instead of asking people to donate cash or pay for news to help keep journalism alive, neither of which will fly, why not ask people to donate classified advertising.

Ok, Karp’s totally lost it, you’re probably thinking. But hang in there with me.

Last year I bought a Toyota Prius knowing full well that the savings on gas would take many, MANY years to pay off given the premium I paid for the Prius over a comparably equipped car. If you run the numbers based on the amount of car I got for the money, it was a completely irrational purchase. But that’s until you introduce an entirely new factor: near zero emissions. Now, I am not generally, or at least I haven’t been for most of my life, a green freak. I’m as wasteful as the next guy. But when it came time to buy a new car, I found myself starting with the previously irrational premise that I was going to pay thousands of dollars for a benefit that would not immediately accrue to me in any tangible way, like power steering.

And it seems I’m not alone in this “irrational” behavior:

hybrid-sales.jpg

It’s important to note that I did not donate thousands of dollars to an environmental charity. I needed a car, so I bought a car. But the extra money I spent was effectively a donation to the environment (or at least that’s how I perceived it, and perceptions are all that matter for this idea).

Here’s another example. Once upon a time, millions of people downloaded music for free — and illegally — from Napster and other file sharing services. Then iTunes came along and those same millions of people started paying $0.99 to get the songs legally when they could easily still get them free with no real risk of getting caught breaking the law. How completely irrational. I’ve actually gone and purchased most of the songs I downloaded from Napster back in the day. Craziness.

SO, sure I can post a classified for free on Craigslist. And most people happily do so, completely oblivious to that fact that their actions are putting their local papers out of business. Most newspaper executives probably assume that people will continue to choose free Craigslist over paid listings in their paper or on their website because that is the “rational” thing for those people to do.

But I wonder what would happen if newspapers introduced a new factor into the equation: the civic benefit of supporting local journalism.

Imagine that you decided to post your classified listing with your local newspaper rather than with Craigslist because you knew it would support the work of local journalists who help make your locality a better place. AND, imagine, you also chose the local newspaper listing because you knew knew that your listing would be more likely to reach civic-minded people like yourself. Imagine how much more (smugly) satisfying would be to conduct your personal commerce in such a community — WAIT, there’s that word “community.” Isn’t the media revolution supposed to be all about community? Now, imagine we discover this thing called the web that has proven such a powerful platform for bringing communities together and scaling them up through the miracle of the network effect.

Of course, this assumes that people can understand and appreciate the civic benefit of supporting local journalism. But the convenient truth in this case is that the civic affairs of this country — like the environment — are a sufficient mess to motivate enough people to want to do something.

You never know what might happen when you just ask people to care. (Ask Gore.) The failure of newspapers to do so is not from a fear of failure, because failure seems to be the only option right now, but rather a failure of imagination.

So instead of bemoaning the loss of journalism amongst themselves, newspapers should try TALKING TO THEIR READERS about it. And see what they say. It’s a “conversation,” remember?

Of course, this leaves aside the issue of whether the PRINT newspaper should be allowed to survive in an age of hyper-efficient, networked online media. If you look at the Chronicle’s classified price list above, you can see the stark difference between the print and online pricing, which is evidence of the enormous pricing power the offline newspaper monopoly once enjoyed. Oh well. You can’t have everything.

Comments (58 Responses so far)

  1. problems with newspapers. The latest patient, apparently, is the San Francisco Chronicle. The problems are not new, and neither is the debate. Doc Searls recaps. Scott Karp reckons it’s a problem of a lack of imagination from newspapers. And he’s right, but that’s sort of stating the obvious, really. Dave Winer, I think, puts it best: “[T]he MSM guys love to hear Jeff Jarvis’s message of gloom and doom, but feel threatened by my prescription for embracing the new

  2. Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination  - Mar 24, 2007  - Scott Karp

  3. of the modern curriculum – a key component of higher education. This fits with the idea that people who generate data and theories need to take ownership of their work’s dissemination, something I blogged on recently. It’s not all mutually exclusive. Scott Karp moves things on a bit: It is true that the newsPAPER business is broken. But let’s be clear about what is actually broken. Newspapers were once the most efficient means for connecting private buyers and sellers (merchandise, jobs, real estate, etc.)

  4. Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination

  5. redesign like USAToday, transforming it into a Web 2.0 site, and go for some VC money? If the alternative is more pain and possibly death, drastic moves might be worth a shot. Additional Reading: Rex Hammock, Thomas Hawk, Glass House, Doc Searls, Scott Karp [IMG Technorati icon] Technorati Tags: SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle, Dave Winer, Dave Lazarus

  6. (who said the wisest thing I heard at Davos: that it is now our job in media not to create communities that already exist but to bring them “elegant organization”); ditto Om Malik. Here’s Doc Searls’ help. Scott Karp suggests a little imagination and treating news like a charity. I disagree with that and much of what is written in these posts and the many times more in the comments under each post. But the moral to the story is that you sure won

  7. echoes Doc Searls. The two obstacles to improving online newspapers, according to Ryan are: 1. We don’t link enough. 2. We don’t bring local bloggers into the fold. Free Classifieds, with a twist Scott Carp goes a little further. He encourages newspapers to indulge in some Creative Destruction. He suggests that Newspaper solicit free classifieds from citizens – maybe some revenue sharing – it is still not clear how Scott wants it to be carried out:

  8. Linkblog Boing Boing: RIAA attacks 10-yr-old girl (7 at time of alleged download)Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination » Publishing 2.0101 Shareware and Freeware Programs Every Nerd Needs | The Free GeekTop 40 sites according to FeedBurner stats – franticindustries.QYPE*Vibes » Blog Archive » Qype jetzt mit direkter Anbindung an Flickr

  9. Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination » Publishing 2.0

  10. (who said the wisest thing I heard at Davos: that it is now our job in media not to create communities that already exist but to bring them “elegant organization”); ditto Om Malik. Here’s Doc Searls’ help. Scott Karp suggests a little imagination and treating news like a charity. I disagree with that and much of what is written in these posts and the many times more in the comments under each post. But the moral to the story is that you sure won

  11. Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination » Publishing 2.0

  12. Larry Digman: How journalism education should change Rafat Ali: IDG’s InfoWorld Magazine To Close Down; Focus on Online/Events Scott Karp: Can InfoWorld Survive The Transition From Print To Online Publishing? and Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination Dan Gillmor Save-the-Newspapers Columnist Fires Back, Misses Dave Winer Trouble At The Chronicle Ryan: Two obstacles to improving online newspapers Drumsnwhistles: Local Newspapers Are NOT Dead, But They Must Evolve

  13. have an old model. My wife and I get our local newspaper (Dayton Daily News), on Thursdays and Sundays. But how much do we read of it? Not much. We subscribed to it because we wanted the ads. The sections I look at the most are 1. the classifieds (out of curiosity) and

  14. Larry Digman: How journalism education should change Rafat Ali: IDG’s InfoWorld Magazine To Close Down; Focus on Online/Events Scott Karp: Can InfoWorld Survive The Transition From Print To Online Publishing? and Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination Dan Gillmor Save-the-Newspapers Columnist Fires Back, Misses Dave Winer Trouble At The Chronicle Ryan: Two obstacles to improving online newspapers Drumsnwhistles: Local Newspapers Are NOT Dead, But They Must Evolve

  15. The Doc Searls Weblog : How to Save Newspapers [newspapers] MediaShift . Digging Deeper::Web Focus Leads Newspapers to Hire Programmers for Editorial Staff | PB[newspapers] Trouble at the Chronicle (Scripting News)[newspapers] Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination » Publishing 2.0 [education] WIRED Blogs: Geekdad[education] Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better | OEDb[education] LibertyTextbooks.org

  16. ” just this week would include comments at: TechCrunch (re: Twitter vs. Dodgeball) Photo Matt (re: Facebook and age discrimination in the tech industry) Ze Frank (random thoughts and a snippet of a song I wrote for the sports racers) Publishing 2.0 (My own prescription for saving the news biz) Twitter stream (playing with the newest shiny toy in technology) CPU (hate speech incident) Scobleizer (hate speech incident) There’s more, but that’s enough to make my point, and that’s pretty

  17. Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination

  18. Reinventing the News Business Posted by mark at 12:25 PM Scott Karp has an excellent post, Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination, in which he discusses the idea of people paying for newspaper classifieds as a means of supporting local journalism. Karp’s article is an important contribution to the debate about the future of newspapers and even journalism as we know it. Even if

  19. Your points are well taken, as with your example of your new automobile in saving the environment, and the same is argued concering printing on “paper” – reduce landfill and save a tree. The newsPAPER business should take their business on-line — there is a change of times, and so should they as they will in the end. A great article! I enjoyed it.

  20. wonderful piece of insight on how community, content and commerce links together. The problem with the local newspaper is to adapt these changes and integrate them. People will take time to come to terms of business2.0 which is collaborative in nature. Either innovate or merge to survive the competition, and the “top 3″ takes the mind and market share, and the general rule is , you are nowhere, if you are not in top 3.

    google, yahoo, aol, ask and live are perfect examples. the top 3 takes 70-80% market share and the rest takes rest !

    ~BALA
    http://www.datagrep.com
    Empowering Business through Strategy Design

  21. Interesting thoughts, hopefully someone over at the Chronicle will take note.

    While your thoughts sounds good in theory – I imagine it would be nearly impossible to execute something on this scale. And perhaps only in a forward thinking place like SF.

    NPR is a different animal – radio is still is a powerful source – in my mind NPR has no competition (full disclosure – I’m a longtime supporter). Print on the other hand, is complicated by its distribution model – and as you’ve pointed out on this site multiple times, the flood of content on the market. The article is incomplete w/o looking into the newspaper’s demographics. How does the newspaper reading sect overlap with an online audience? Any newspapers will struggle and lose a tremendous amount of their market if they go digital.

    Also Napster? What percentage of these former Napster users are actually purchasing music from iTunes? Millions of people once used Napster, and now millions are downloading music illegally via bit torrents or other file sharing platforms. I’d say, iTunes earns the bulk of its profits from people who once purchased CD’s and now want and easy way to buy music online.

  22. [...] note: Scott says that all the papers need is a little imagination. I get the idea, but I don’t believe that [...]

  23. [...] Scott Karp is thinking deep thoughts instead of reading the Sunday newspaper: “What the news business and the entire media business are suffering from most right now is a failure of imagination. Nobody imagined that somebody would be so recklessly uncapitalistic as to create a website where people could post classified ads for free. Nobody imagined that an online software company specializing in information retrieval, but which produced no information of its own, could create the largest market for small business advertising that the world has ever seen.” [...]

  24. [...] Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination [...]

  25. I agree. The hybrid model will drive newspaper success online. Newspapers sit on valuable local markets that people continue to find valuable. Investors know this and newspapers typically sell for 10X to 13X EBITDA (and we are seeing much higher today).

    I think the “newspapers are dead” crowd underestimates a lot of things. I think it’s a groupthink issue :)

  26. [...] Karoli). And my friend Scott Karp has a long and typically insightful look at the paper business here. Technorati Tags: media, newspapers, Web | Share This | Sphere [...]

  27. [...] that newspapers need to in fact throw themselves on the mercy of their readers and say, “Donate to the cause.” Imagine that you decided to post your classified listing with your local newspaper rather [...]

  28. [...] of the local newspaper, prompting posts by Dave Weiner, Doc Searls, Mathew Ingram, Adrian Monck, Scott Karp, and others. I’m still busily trying to read and absorb it all ( damn you, internet, for [...]

  29. Well done, Scott. Newspaper executives are not well known for imagination, unfortunately, having enjoyed local market domination for so many years. I wouldn’t count them out quite yet, but I sincerely hope they don’t have to be bailed out by the government, which is really where your NPR analogy is going.

    Public broadcasting is a relic of the 60s – created as a voice “independent” of corporate influence. It has been subsidized by our tax dollars ever since, making ALL of us contributors – willing and otherwise. PBS and NPR receive buckets of dough from big advertisers, who these days are known as magnanimous “sponsors.” Sorry, it’s a load of you know what, and this model won’t help the news biz.

    I do think civic responsibility is important. I fear it may be too late, however, since schools don’t teach this any more and we’re well into the second generation of kids who have grown up with no interest in or need for newspapers.

    While Craigslist is the ultimate eater of newspaper company lunch, don’t forget successful commercial enterprises such as Monster, Autobytel and numerous others that made online classifieds successful first.

    Don’t mean to be the pessimist (see cheerier review of NAA Marketing Conference: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/13544.asp ). I hope we can help the imaginative ones win the uphill battle without sucking up tax dollars.

  30. Very interesting. And unlike one of the commenters above, I don’t believe scale is a problem at all for an endeavor like this. Not to belittle the amazing Craigslist at *all*, but any developer worth his weight in PHP code can recreate the technical aspects of Craigslist in days, weeks, or months. In fact, there is probably good open-source stuff out there right now which approximates Craigslist functionality quite nicely.

    Once again, I don’t mention this to belittle Craigslist. I mention it to point out that 90% of the Craigslist magic is in the community and 10% of it is in the technology. That said, newspapers already have giant communities. The only difference is that they don’t talk to each other. Get them talking to each other and exchanging goods and services with each other, like Craigslist does, and you’ve got exactly what you want.

    By the way Scott, there’s also probably a way to achieve a bit of what you’re looking for without requiring as much altruism. What if you gave away print subscriptions or online subscriptions to users who agreed to complete a basket of the following each year:

    1. Post two classified ads on the site.
    2. Buy two tickets to any concert on the site.
    3. Comment on one story a month.

    etc, etc, etc…

    You could still couch it as “supporting local journalism” but you at least tie it to a tangible reward then, which takes care of all the people who always need something immediate for their “efforts”.

  31. [...] Karoli). And my friend Scott Karp has a long and typically insightful look at the paper business here. Technorati Tags: media newspapers web | Share [...]

  32. Bennet,

    I agree that government involvement has a very low chance of either happening or helping. But this administrations abdication of responsiblity towards the environment has not prevented the acceleration of environmentalism in this country. In think the environmental movement is a better model than NPR or PBS, which I agree has its big problems.

    Yes, kids may not value newspapers, but the real issue is valuing journalism, regardless of the medium. And even if kids don’t value that, most people over 30 still have a few years left to live and make a difference.

    What strikes me is that with all talk of community being the driver of new media, in debates like this their seems to be very little faith in the notion of community.

    Mike,

    Great idea — if only ideas like this could get some brainstorming traction in newspaper boardrooms.

  33. Pop thought: So Craig Newmark has said he values newspapers and journalism and never intended to hurt newspapers, so he’s been working on initiatives in support of journalism.

    Wonder how craigslist would react if we started a campaign to go into all of the local craigslist sites and posted messages in support of the local newspaper — did you you know you can buy concert tickers here (link), place classifieds here (link), look at this cool thing the local newspaper site is doing here (link) etc.

    Use the power of network and open architecture to spread the good word about newspapers and their web sites. There’s some civic-minded volunteerism for you … a little crowdsourcing support for democracy and community and the institutions that are part of it.

  34. Howard,

    Fantastic idea. Imagine how many people you could get to participate if every newspaper devoted a full-page ad to the campaign.

  35. Ah, Scott … leverage the power of the network … grassroots is always more effective.

  36. Howard, why choose when you can do both? Nothing like a good old fashioned monopoly channel to introduce more people into the network. Ask Google how well the original distriubtion deal with AOL worked for them.

  37. Well, I just did a post on the idea … we’ll see if it catches on … if it does, I would expect strong newspaper support. Maybe I’ll make a suggestion to the NAA to rechannel some of that “value of newspaper” camapaign …

  38. [...] this past week concerning the demise of newspapers. Everyone from Dave Winer, Robert Scoble and Scott Karp to those in the newsprint trenches like Mathew Ingram has chimed in on the [...]

  39. [...] off a firestorm of punditry from the likes of Dan Gillmor, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Don Dodge, Scott Karp, Thomas Hawk and Robert Scoble, whose headline flatly declared, “Newspapers are dead . . . [...]

  40. “The newsPAPER business should take their business on-line — there is a change of times, and so should they as they will in the end.”

    If newspapers began publishing only online, the most vulnerable in society will become the least informed. Let’s remember that the poor, the elderly, and the undereducated don’t have the same access to the web that many of us have.

  41. Hashim, an excellent observation, shamefully left out of these debates. But do you really think preventing the demise of print newspapers, against the will of the market, is the answer? Why not take the subsidy that implies and put it towards efforts to end the digital divide so that web access is as available to all as print newspapers are now? People without web accessed and computer literacy are disadvantaged in ever increasing ways, beyond just access to news.

  42. [...] are being trained for the online world? I can tell you how many: zero.”Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 says the business just needs a little imagination, “It is true that the newsPAPER business is broken. It [...]

  43. [...] Karp, as usual, has one of the more interesting takes on the situation, stating that the current situation in the news business stems from a lack of [...]

  44. [...] Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination » Publishing 2.0 “instead of asking people to donate cash or pay for news to help keep journalism alive, neither of which will fly, why not ask people to donate classified advertising.” (tags: internet newspapers business revenue trends advertising classifieds free) [...]

  45. Hi Scott,

    Very interesting brain-storming going on here, but I feel like your Hybrid and Napster examples both overlook a key element: network effects in the marketplace.

    As a classifieds customer, the single factor that matters most to me (more, even, then where the money goes) is how many qualified people will see my ad in a given marketplace. Free is a nice side-benefit of Craigslist, but it’s not the reason people post ads there. We seem to be assuming that a newspaper classifed ad gets me the same amount of exposure for my ad as a Craigslist post (or an Ebay listing for that matter – this is not just a Craigslist issue,) and I’m not sure that’s true. If it is, they’re doing a very bad job of publicizing that fact.

    Old school newspapers are at their core, aggregators – – and as we know, the internet is, among other things, a disaggregation machine. Rather than try and figure out ways to put that genie back in the bottle, I think most newspapers will need to consider some combination of the following:

    a) Cost-cutting (this one will undoubtedly be the least popular, but how much overhead do you really need to run a cutting edge _news_reporting_ operation in 2007? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect it’s less than many newspapers are currently still spending on rent and utilities alone.)

    b) Patronage, and especially micro-patronage, opportunities. (I would happily donate to my local news organization – although I should also note that I would expect *real* reporting in exchange for my patronage – not the ever expanding Style section that currently constitutes much of the “news”-paper.)

    c) Ancillary revenue opportunities. These will vary but could include advertising and information services. There are still cases where the local paper is probably the best advertising conduit. There are also a lot of opportunities coming up in mobile (which is inherently local) that a smart local news organization could jump on.

    d) Participatation in & enablement of “The Conversation.” Dave Winer’s suggestion of offering blogs to anybody who is featured in a story and wants to comment or otherwise continue the discussion is a good one. Hell – I’d help set it up for free, and I’m sure lots of folks with CMS/blog/publishing platform experience would offer to do the same.

    I’m taking the time to write all of this up out of affection – I like the newspaper, and I like professional journalists. That’s why I _really_ want to see them step up to the challenge – – we’ll all be poorer for it if they don’t.

    – M

  46. Scott,

    We have gone a step further on your classified model at our Find It Australian website. We are delivering full service classified ads, photos, video, sound, tons of options free. We have a token charge for full time employment and real-estate for sale. Everything else is free including vehicles, part-time employment, rental accommodation and eBay type listings. Our belief is that classifieds ought to be fair and to be fair they have to be free. Big media companies have demonstrated an ability to actively compete – one only has to look at what it costs to post an employment or real-estate ad online with a big media company to see the lack of competition.

    Mark

  47. [...] led to a spate of other blog posts, including Dave Winer, Doc Searls, and Scott Karp. Each one has something interesting to say and offers food for thought for any news executive. Doc [...]

  48. [...] Karp says part of the problem with the newspaper business has been its lack of imagination: “Nobody imagined that somebody would be so recklessly uncapitalistic as to create a website [...]

  49. “But do you really think preventing the demise of print newspapers, against the will of the market, is the answer?”

    By definition, the Market does not consider those who cannot participate in it – the underclass. For all the things the goverment subsidizes – farms, airlines, education – I wouldn’t mind a little Federal help for newspapers in the interest of securing democracy.

    I also think newspapers need to use their competitive advantages of being local, being shareable, and being portable. Read the account of the Dunn Daily Record in Made to Stick to see how they win by being hyper local.

  50. Hashim, don’t you think any available federal subsidies would have more long-term value for the underclass by helping to close the digital divide (e.g., more public Internet access, more computer literacy education) rather than keeping them chained to a dying medium while the rest of the world moves on? Isn’t that equivalent of putting them in an information ghetto? I would agree that paper-based access to information is better than no access to information, but at some point soon, the inability of to use the web is going to become like illiteracy — a fundamental barrier that keeps people down.

  51. [...] ditto Om Malik. Here’s Doc Searls’ help. Scott Karp suggests a little imagination and treating news like a charity. I disagree with that and much of what is written in these posts [...]

  52. [...] Karp says Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination. The lack of imagination by publishers, he writes, is keeping them from taking steps to reinvent [...]

  53. [...] Reinventing The News Business Requires A Little Imagination » Publishing 2.0 (tags: newspapers online+newspapers content+strategy mediafuture) [...]

  54. You’re right that the issue is about community. But that’s just the thing: Craigslist is a community to me, and the SF Chronicle is not. Why? Craigslist gives me a voice. I can talk with my friends there, unmediated, and alive. Why should I feel good and charitable about supporting the local paper when they don’t give me any of those things?

  55. The big problem with newspapers isn’t print. It isn’t ads. It IS an organizational problem.

    We’ve got all these people whose job is to make the organization that was built around a newspaper succeed, even though their raison d’etre is obsolete.

    How about Craig Newmark hires the local reporters from the SF Chronicle to provide free news, alongside his free classifieds?

    dave

  56. [...] maybe not. In the past week alone, I’ve read thoughtful observations on the subject in blogs by Scott Karp, Robert Scoble, Duncan Riley, David Strom and, most recently, Jeff Jarvis, just to name a few. [...]

  57. [...] aggressive measures to lessen our impact on the environment. Heck, I’m seriously considering joining Scott Karp in paying an “environmental tax” by purchasing a hybrid car. And as I blogged last week and many other times, I’m an advocate [...]

  58. The unfortunate fact is that more people use the internet than read papers. You can sell things for free on online classified sites like craiglist faster that through a paper. This means on of the main sources of profit for the newspaper is dwindling, unless every paper makes a killer online classified section, im not sure what they can do. I think everything needs to be syndicated online, and they can make advertising profits there.

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