Thursday, January 4, 2007

Newspapers, The Next Generation

The newspaper business is the only industry around that draws 20% profit margins whose owners routinely cry poverty. Probably because the market has already factored the much anticipated demise of print into financial forecasts. As I've discussed previously, I believe print will be around as long as there are trees. The challenge for newspapers is how they will change and adapt to changing technology and circumstances.

There is newspaper news. Today marks the day that Daylife went live in beta. Daylife is the online news aggregator that Craig Newmark and Jeff Jarvis have been quite involved in building. I haven't had a chance to sample it yet, but it's been panned by TechCrunch already. I haven't yet had a chance to sample it, but will get back to it once I check it out.

Gigaom's initial reaction was also less than a rave.

Daylife’s goals7 overpower what it’s doing, at least with the beta. It aims to “Make the news ecosystem more transparent and self-correcting, for the benefit of all involved,” “Develop new models for funding journalism,” and “Enable a civil discourse that is pragmatic, solutions-oriented, and doesn’t exaggerate divisions in favor of celebrating what unites us,” among other things.

Sounds great, but we don’t see any progress on these fronts so far. There’s not even any way for readers to comment on stories!

Those media folks can be harsh.

The Washington Post also joined the ranks of newspapers that are linking their online and print newsgathering operations. Post Executive Editor Len Downie explained the rationale to Reuters.

Starting in January, print editors will "help us at the Web site and at the paper think smartly about more three-dimensional ways that you can present that news," Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. told Reuters.



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