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

« More Must Reads | Main | A Vision for the Future of Newspapers—20 Years Ago »

February 19, 2012



I've been highly critical of newspaper management in the past, but I try to be fair about it....hence the need to jump to their defense a bit. The death of newspapers may indeed come, but while I hope you live a very long life, my friend, I serioiusly doubt you will live long enough to make that R.I.P entry. People have been predicting newspapers' death since the 1920s. Oddly enough, it's usually by former newspaper people. The fact is, local newspapers still control the majority of advertising dollars in all but a few U.S. markets. That is likely to change in the next two to three years as online advertising control the largest share. But there's something everyone seems to forget, and that's the fact that newspaper companies control a very significant chunk of online advertising -- one-fourth of it, to be exact. if you wanted to be factual about the chronology of newspapers you might have this as your next entry: In 2011, newspaper companies gained more share of local online advertising than they lost on the print side of the business, possibly ensuring that they would remain in the No. 1 spot for quite some time.

Mark Potts

Somehow, trading majority share of local print advertising for just 25 percent of local online advertising doesn't strike me as a great accomplishment—in fact, it underscore how badly newspaper execs botched the online opportunity, over and over again. As Pew documented last week (http://mashable.com/2012/02/13/news-publishers-online-advertising-pew/), news sites have generally failed to innovate in online advertising and aren't competitive with the likes of Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Groupon, who've captured most of the dollars that have shifted from print to online. Newspapers are playing catchup, at best, not leading, and their unabated declines in revenue, circulation and, unfortunately, staff numbers, attest to that.


Mark -- Great timeline. But 80 years ago, there was another chapter in media history that was a warning to the newspaper business -- to not be so stubborn about inevitable change. Take a look at this clever video that's been on a bunch of journalism blogs and Romenesko: http://vimeo.com/36773408

The comments to this entry are closed.