About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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« Reshuffling the Newsroom | Main | Follow the Money »

November 15, 2006


Chris Johnson

Mark, this is happening in magazines already. Witness the death of ElleGirl and Teen People. The good news, though, is that those brands are living and thriving online. I suspect The Daily Bugle's newspaper roots will leave it with an exceptional web site, updated hourly by its two remaining editors (and sold by its two top local salespeople), with content from its extended network of citizen journalists -- some of whom were once writers for the newspaper.

Those romantics who are nostalgic for newsprint can laser print the web experience on raggy recycled paper using "non-smudging" vegetable inks.

Mark Potts

Interestingly, while magazines tend to trail newspapers in Web savvy, they lead in other key areas of innovation: Willingness to experiment with new titles and features, and willingness to kill what's not working. It's a different culture. Newspapers go years without making significant product changes; magazines do it regularly. There's much more of a sense of experimentation. And there's another big difference: Magazines understand going after specialized, niche audiences. Newspapers are still caught in the general-interest game, being all things to all readers. And that's a problem.

Tom Grubisich

Print newspapers began to lose their dominance years before the Internet. They were growing in tandem with households till about 1970, then went flat and stayed there until about 1990 -- still well before the Web was commercialized -- when they started the decline they're still in. Today, daily papers go into only 50 percent of households. Imagine if only every other household had a TV or Internet service.


I think your prediction has already come to pass. Didn't Trenton lose its newspaper earlier this year? If I'm not mistaken, the Trenton Times is now an insert in the Newark Star-Ledger.

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