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  • Available for public speaking around media transformation and opportunity. Please inquire for schedule and rates.

Press Mentions

  • Ad Age/Nat Ives: It's Back: 25 MORE Media People You Should Follow on Twitter
    25 media types worth following on Twitter.
  • Ad Age: Why So Many Media Companies Stumble Globally
    The few news brands that have succeeded, to greater or lesser degrees, arguably include CNN, Bloomberg, People, Thomson Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Financial Times and The Economist. Other contenders are the Associated Press, the BBC, ABC, NBC, maybe CBS, National Public Radio, News Corp. and the top U.K. dailies, said Ken Doctor, the newspaper veteran who's now an analyst at Outsell. "If a news-media organization sees itself as covering the wider world, sees it as its foundation, that in and of itself differentiates it from all the local media -- newspapers, TV, radio -- out there," he said. "If, in addition, it has substantial reporting and editing resources, then it can play. The tough part is the part we're in: Who wins the race to ubiquity and can make it pay off?"
  • NYT: If The Globe Were Sold, What Price?
    “The best guesstimate of the real price: a buck. The best of an announced price: between $50 and $100 million,” he wrote in an e-mail message. The devil will be in the details of the obligations that a buyer would assume, he said, adding that “a buck essentially represents a gentleman’s agreement: I take a liability, headache and a distraction off your hands.” He said that the Times Company could hang on to some pension liabilities or other obligations in exchange for a higher purchase price, a number that would give the appearance that it was getting something for the more than $1 billion it paid 16 years ago. He added that no bank would be interested in financing a deal given how other deals have blown up, so “the owner’s own money is immediately at risk.”
  • Economist: It isn’t just newspapers: much of the established news industry is being blown away. Yet news is thriving
    Ken Doctor of Outsell, a research firm, reckons that the Kindle appeals to baby-boomers who would otherwise read a paper magazine or newspaper. The young prefer their iPhones and their aggregators. Indeed, the top four magazines on Kindle, according to Amazon’s website, are the New Yorker, Newsweek, Time and Reader’s Digest. Not much of a youth market there.
  • Forbes: San Diego News Shoot-Out
    "The Union-Tribune is cratering. That opens a hole in the market and the opportunity for some unconventional business models."
  • Journal Sentinel faces daunting choices
    “There’s no strategy – this is panic. What we’re likely to see this year (around the country) and what we’ll see in Milwaukee too is (publishers asking) how much they need to cut back and how much they can do to still hold their place in the market. For publishers, it’s about ‘How do we stay alive and stay profitable until we can get to some sort of breathing period?’ (Economic) recovery will not bring back their old business, but it will give them some breathing room.”
  • AP: Threat to shut Boston Globe shows no paper is saf
    The threat to close the paper "sends a very clear message to all employees and unions of surviving newspapers — that this is not business as usual. This is uncharted territory....Newspapers all "have a sword over their heads," said Doctor. If the industry wants to survive, he said, "everyone has to give some blood."
  • Guardian: Seattle mourns the last day of its venerable Post Intelligencer
    "There's a lot less reporting happening, on a national scale. For the 1,500 or so daily newspapers, it's just a matter of getting smaller and smaller."
  • Seattle Times: Seattle's oldest newspaper goes to press for the final time
    "They're bringing the full force of their national relationships and content to bear on Seattle. They [Hearst] could sustain this experiment indefinitely. If it makes a million or loses a million, that's nothing to a company like Hearst."
  • AP: Hearst hopes Web-only Seattle P-I will turn profit
    "It [online-only PI] definitely can make money. They have a head start in terms of the brand and (Web) traffic. They have to run like hell to create a new identity."

What's On My Netvibes

  • Steve Goldstein
    Fellow KR alumnus Steve Goldstein understands the research/info needs of end-use enterprise customers, and he's built a company that is helping satisfy them.
  • Peter Krasilovsky
    Centered on e-commerce of all kinds from Yellow Pages through classifieds and new ad models.
  • Mark Potts
    Mark Potts is an experienced journalist, observer of Internet journalism and an alumnus of the Backfence experiment.
  • John Blossom
    Thoughtful views on a wide-ranging mix of media change.
  • Jay Rosen
    Jay Rosen is a provocateur in the best sense, an NYU journalism professor deeply committed to keeping the press accountable and vibrant in the digital age.
  • David Meerman Scott
    David Scott understands web marketing of digital content. Check out his site and his new book, "Cashing In With Content"
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« Nine Questions: Flipping the PI, NY's 4 Dailies, Re-Kindling Women Readers, Talking USAToday, Journalistic Deviance and More! | Main | Ads and News: 'Google News' Latches On to an Old Idea »

February 24, 2009


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Paul Grabowicz

Ken -

We're not shooting to be a big, metro-wide site, but we have been building a local community site called Mission Local in the city's Mission District.

It's a project of the UC Berkeley Journalism School, and is one of a half dozen such community sites we launched last October. Students will be running the sites year round, and we're using them both to teach our students about digital media and to explore the viability of hyper-local community news sites.

If you're interested, there's more about the project on our school's home page in the Highlights section.

John Furrier

Nice post and good "Angle" on this topic. One newspaper site that has had a good track record of web content is

Focus on the local market but general news as well. Other than that I have to agree with you. For example the SFGate is a navigation nightmare

David Cohn

I am a big believer in what the Public-Press is doing and supporting their work where I can.

I run Spot.Us - a nonprofit project trying to pioneer "community funded reporting."

We've funded 13 stories since our launch. It certainly won't be a replacement of the Chronicle. Nor would Public-Press. People can give as little as $5 - and have an impact on local journalism here in the Bay.

But I like to think that Public-Press, combined with Spot.Us, combined with other entities that have a "yes" attitude towards collaboration might be able to swing it. It would be a challenge - but I am up for challenges.

David Jensen

The problems with the Chronicle and the newspaper industry go well beyond the last few years and the Internet. Before the Web came along in the 1990s, advertisers were fleeing newspapers and readership was eroding. But the management of most newspapers felt comfortable with the then whopping profit margins and their slowly dying business model. Publishers could only come up with half-baked answers to the flight of food and auto advertisers away from print. Those lucrative clients were what could be called the canaries in the mine, although they were considerably larger birds. Meanwhile, the high priests in the newsrooms KNEW what readers wanted, regardless of what readers were doing, such as unsubscribing to home delivery, spending less time with the paper each day and moving to alternate sources of news decades ago. In effect, the readers were silently telling editors their product was irrelevant to readers' lives. The disease that is killing newspapers needed to be addressed decades ago. Perhaps today's events could not have been averted even then. But a failure to understand sea changes among readers and advertisers years ago lies at the heart of today's dismal reports about the newspaper business.

Rocky Agrawal

"Yes, there are 21 daily newspapers covering an 11-county area, but surprising no vibrant, metro-wide local news/city guide online site. There have been efforts over the years, but none big, none well-funded."

This is not surprising in the least. The middle -- which is where something like this would play -- is not a good place to be.

Metro papers are too generic for most people's needs. I don't really care about crimes four cities over. I do care about the stuff next door, but mid-market organizations won't cover that. SFist does a way better job of serving local needs than SFGate.

A lot of event content is available in other forms and given the reluctance of local advertisers to get on board, sustaining such sites through advertising is nearly impossible. If I want to keep up on events at a local club, more often than not I can sign up for a mailing list and get much richer information. That same business no longer has to pay to reach me.

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