Check out Jon Fine's reverie on how to "save" Knight Ridder. It's a fine dream. Two highly respected journalism companies -- the gold-plated New York Times and McClatchy -- team up to buy KR and put together a high-quality network of top properties from Boston to Miami to Sacramento and and San Jose (not forgetting Anchorage and Biloxi.)
Fine talks about how this could be a network of the future. He's right, but only if it is the beginning of a larger network, one with real critical mass in top metros, one able to make the kind of wily business partnerships with the GYM (Google, Yahoo, MSN) companies that have largely eluded the newspaper giants. Partnership and accomodation, in the paid search ad business, in content delivery and in providing the kind of socially mediated, personalized and networked publishing platform is what the times demand.
Maybe the rumors of the talks between the two companies are real and can bring a good end to this sale saga that serves as a warning to all journalistic enterprises in the land. ........
The ad revolution that is reshaping the news business is just beginning. MUST reading for all who care is the Sunday NYT piece on ad wizard Bob Greenberg, the man who brought us Paula Abdul dancing seamlessly with Groucho. The Sunday Business cover story details his innovative work, but more importantly holds several nuggets on where this is all going. For instance:
Other marketing frontiers are arising, and Mr. Greenberg is happy to tick off some examples: quick response codes embedded on movie posters that allow trailers to be downloaded directly onto cellphones placed near them; billboards used by companies like Dove that let consumers vote on themes or messages by cellphone; instant messaging and ads streamed through game consoles like Xbox or online gaming networks; and wireless services like Dodgeball that help people find peers at bars and restaurants within a 10-block radius after they pinpoint their own location by sending a short text message to the service.
Now put your editor and ad director hat on and think about what you can do, what you have to do with movie capsules, user reviews, collaborative filtering of news, newly targeted ad messages, etc.
We're at the beginning of all this -- not the end.
One more quote from the piece, this from Verizon's CMO John Stratton:
"Major money is going to be in motion in the next decade and yet no one really understands exactly where it will land, or even if it will land, or just disappear altogether," he said at an Advertising Age conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. "Your clients are in trouble. They are looking to you to save them."
........Kudos to Amanda Bennett, the Phildadelphia Inquirer's newly embattled editor. Bennett printed the highly newsworthy Muslim cartoon, one of the few American daily editors to do so. You can argue the decision, endlessly it seems, but the point we shouldn't lose track of is this: We need strong editors, backed by strong journalism-celebrating companies, to report the world as they see it. That's the foundation of many of our freedoms. And one put further in jeopardy the KR sale.