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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December 21, 2006



And along these lines ... I just skimmed through Time magazine (having been named its Person of the Year - and all) and read this piece of wizardry: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1565543,00.html
Summary: a magazine thinks newspapers are alive and kickin'. Go figure!

Mark Potts

Thanks, Gur. Talk about whistling past the graveyard! I need to post at greater length on this, but anybody who thinks private local ownership is the magic answer should look at the Philadelphia Inquirer, whose new local owner is discovering that a heavy debt load, tough union contracts and the standard newspaper challenges can eat up that lovely cash flow rather quickly.

Dave Porreca


Excellent points, but aren't you and Joe Strupp saying essentially the same thing, just approaching it from different angles? To me, the reason Joe can say this was the year the Web came of age is because people in the business finally recognized, as you point out, that the old model is irreparably broken. My point, I guess, is that you and Joe aren't really at odds.

Dave Porreca

Jay Rosen

Mark: I agree with your analysis. I disagree with Strupp. I don't think he has a handle on this one.

But if you do that post on private ownership not being the magic answer, be advised: I have collected a bunch of columns making that very point, and every single one of them uses some variation of the phrase you used--local ownership as a "panacea," or "magic answer"--without even trying to find someone who said it was. No quotes, ever. No names. Just phantoms. I have even written the journalists involved asking them, "who said panacea?" because what I heard people saying about local ownership was: "worth a try."

You write... "anybody who thinks private local ownership is the magic answer.." Please, if you write that post, find these people who have engaged in magical thinking and panacea talk. Personally, I don't think they exist, only their debunkers do.

Now if you are talking about people who hoped local ownership might this time work out better than Wall Street domination had... well, sure. Lots of them around. But in the commentary I have collected from them, they usually cautioned against the panacea view.

Here's something I wrotye about it:


And here's the kind of "no panacea" colummn I meant:


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