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.

January 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad

« The New Media Audience | Main | Somebody Had to Say It »

January 06, 2009


Michael Staton

It seems strange to me it took so long for the "consistent rapid publishers" of the planet to get on board. I guess they had their platform previously, so they didn't need blogs. I guess that follows Christensen's model of disruption.....


"Journalism" professionals STILL can not Identify their competition.

If you have an automotive engineer who writes an insightful three page description of an engine his team is developing every three years, that used to not be a problem. Even though it was just as well written as someone with a journalism or English degree might write.

It was one article every three years that only the man's friends were likely to see. If they shared it, well a few xerox copies mailed around still don't reach that many people even if it pyramids out seven times and by the time the last group gets it it will be a month later if they were being mailed.

Fast foreword to now.

There are thousands of engineers. Every 1095 of them writing once every three years equal one story a day. Written, generally, for free. As in costs no money. As in they are writing for their own vanity.

And on the web, writing in interest forums, or having those forums available as a place their friends might send the article - it will be seen.

Extend this out to other interests, because it carries over across the board.

Journalists keep looking at the picture trying to figure out how content producers are going to be paid in the new media.

The stopper is that they have to compete with people who write about any given subject as well or better than they possibly can WHO DON'T EXPECT TO BE PAID.

When the internet arrived and provided a means for people to disseminate their writings, this became inevitable. I saw it, Drudge saw it, hundreds and hundreds of people saw and have been discussing it for over a decade.

The dinosaur media is late to the party.

Celeste Altus

Everything Phogg said above it spot-on. It's frightening how long it took the suits at newspapers to catch on. That being said, I went through the "acceptance" phase in 2004 - maybe I can start a side business: Former Newspaper Reporter Grief Counseling.


I'm not a news person but I hear talk often from everyday acquaintances about "why I don't read the newspaper". That reason is often political and involves trust. Their content is not trusted (or at least not valued by a gold standard). Many newspapers have knowingly or unknowingly narrowed their available readership/market by the nature of material they have covered (and not covered). They have favored one political demographic (toward the left or right) and have thus damaged or at least limited their brands and franchises. Politics aside, Roger Ailes at Fox TV targeted an unserved market - right of center. He drove a MACK TRUCK through the market opening left by CNN. My sense is that while the industry restructures around the internet, the newspapers have compounded their trouble by narrowing their addressable market segments though content choices. Bloggers and online sources have filled the void.


I sure picked the wrong week to quit sniffing printer's ink.

George Avalos

I have a question.

Why do any of you care if the newspaper business is around?

I'm a newspaper reporter myself and have been for some time.

But wouldn't you be happier, be more profitable, have more revenue, capture more traffic, if we were gone? Wouldn't you prefer that newspapers no longer existed?

Or if it makes no difference, why do you care?

Why is there this endless hand-wringing and navel-gazing about the newspaper business? Why the endless "how to" suggestions about the industry?

Either we'll make it or we won't. Right?

What difference does it make to any of you?

Just wondering.


George Avalos

One more thing. I realize that in Silicon Valley, failure is a badge of honor. And the relentless quest to come back from failure is one of the things that makes Silicon Valley great. After all, "only the paranoid survive," and truer words were never written.

But, Mark, you were with Back Fence, right?

And you're telling us what to do to have a successful media business?

You were with Back Fence ... and you're telling us all about how to cover local news?

If I wanted to improve my skills as a football QB, wouldn't I go to Joe Montana or Peyton Manning to get advice? Surely I wouldn't go to Ryan Leaf or Jamarcus Russell.


Mark Potts

George: Thanks for your comments, which I believe speak for themselves--as does my resumé.

The comments to this entry are closed.