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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« Newspapers: There is No Magic Bullet | Main | In Search, Of Excellence »

May 18, 2009


James d.

Just a theory...Maybe he's being a cynical pragmatist: He knows most newspapers won't be able to adapt when print completely goes, and maybe even thinks there's no way a big operation can even exist online-only.
So he's aiming for a slow fade rather than a meteoric fall.
Of course, that's not forward-looking or finding new solutions, and it won't help any newspaper not currently charging.
But if you don't know how to find new possibilities, but you know how to protect your turf for as long as possible, then do what you do well and screw the rest, to slightly modify Jarvis.
Of course, I work for a (small) paper that is free and well-viewed online yet has online revenue that would suggest paid and walled-off. So we clearly haven't figured it out.

j. jack flash

Here's the odd thing about the Democrat-Gazette's web access. Yes, you have to pay to visit its site at arkansasonline.com. But no, you don't have to pay to read its content at nwanews.com. Let me explain.

The Democrat-Gazette publishes an edition in the Northwest Arkansas area of Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers, where there's competition with the Morning News. The company that owns the Democrat-Gazette also publishes a couple of strictly local papers in the Northwest Arkansas market. So they put their local papers on the nwanews.com web site, plus the content from the Northwest Arkansas edition of the Denocrat-Gazette, all for free.

The NW Ark edition of the Democrat-Gazette contains, I'd estimate, about 85 percent of the same content as in the Little Rock edition. It won't have Little Rock city government or Little Rock school district stories, but it will have the main state, national, sports, style and editorial section news that you'd be paying for if you went to arkansasonline.com. Just about everyone in Little Rock who wants to know this knows this.

John Reinan

I lost my reporting job at the Arkansas Gazette in 1991 when Gannett threw in the towel on the Little Rock newspaper war and conceded to Hussman.

In just five years, he beat the nation's largest, wealthiest and most aggressive publisher, made them cry uncle and leave town.

Gannett immediately began erasing the Arkansas Gazette from most of its corporate literature and history -- just sent it down the memory hole. That's how big a deal the loss was to them -- they couldn't face it squarely.

I don't know whether Hussman is right on the paid website model. But anyone who could whip Gannett at its very peak deserves a careful hearing.

Mike Bazelewick

There is a chance for newspapers ... Just as radio evolved in response to the onslaught of television, newspapers must re-invent themselves to meet this challenge, not by poor imitation of online business models, or ineffective emulation of online features in print, but by using the advantages of their newspaper’s parallel print and online presence to dramatically increase the advertising sales response of print, offering advertisers and readers a synergy they cannot buy in online advertising alone .... We have a system for publishers that could be in place for tomorrow morning's edition.

Collectors Stamps

what kind of sources did you use ?

Mark Potts

Collectors Stamps: The data sources were the U.S. Census, Scarborough Reports and other publicly available marketing reports on demographics for Little Rock and other markets. They're all easily found through Google.

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