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Dying Newspapers? No Hand-Wringing From Wired’s Chris Anderson

August 2nd, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Coworker Jason Preston and I frequently discuss what role the traditional press will have in a world where the printing press is largely irrelevant. He even has a blog dedicated to the future of publishing. During these conversations, my attitude is characteristically laissez-faire and could be described as “hey, journalism happens.” In other words, if the New York Times vanishes, something else will emerge (probably something that doesn’t require 800,000 square feet of the world’s most expensive real estate.)

With this in mind, I had to laugh (and agree!) when I read Chris Anderson’s response to the Speigel Online when they asked:

SPIEGEL: Your local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, is fighting for survival. If it was to disappear tomorrow …

Anderson: … I wouldn’t notice. I don’t even know what I’d be missing.

Regarding the New York Times, Mike Arrington presents a scenario where a lean, mean, new media entity is created by the top ten percent of the Times’ journalists:

What if that group, the most valuable assets that the NYTimes controls, simply walked out of the building and started their own company? What would that look like?

He goes on:

That’s $25 million/year to have a well paid staff of the best journalists on the planet. How long before they outstrip those 16 million monthly visitors and 124 million page views? 5 years? Less?

How many private equity funds would kill to put $100 million behind the NNYT to make sure the company had plenty of money until it reached profitability?

I agree that it would look like a promising and likely profitable entity that would understand today’s economic realities. Heck, you don’t even need the top ten percent. Take the bottom ten percent, just for god’s sake just get them out of the building!


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