The NYO Dives Into the Deep-End of ‘How to Save Newspapers’

The New York Observer has a nice long, very smart, multi-bylined piece today about the future of newspapers. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but for those of you in a rush the short version is that newspapers should look more like Facebook! Kidding…but only sort of. Says the NYO:

The media of the 21st century is one that is blogged — not a negative thing, see later in the piece! — and merged with the users’ own experiences and viewpoints synthesized with the original. If postmodernism came to literature in the ’80s, it’s got to come to journalism now.

In the meantime here’s a quick takeaway from some of the major players the NYO spoke with:

Marcus Brauchli (WaPo): “The problem is how to monetize all content, which is not simply how to solve newspapers problems. Our problems are ultimately the same as the movie industry’s, the book industry’s, the magazine industry’s, the music industry’s. We all meet on a vast, flat digital plane, which is a sort of Hobbesian, anarchic, unordered place.”

Drew Schutte (Conde Nast): “We haven’t figured out brand advertising, we are just beginning to.”

Robert Thomson
(WSJ): “Google is great for Google, but it’s terrible for content providers, because it divides that content quantitatively rather than qualitatively. And if you are going to get people to pay for content, you have to encourage them to make qualitative decisions about that content.”

Russ Stanton (LAT): “I’m not a big fan of the pay model, that horse left the barn….If we had life to do over again, go back 12 or 15 years, that’s what we should have done. Clearly that would have been a strategy we would have taken a second look at. I would argue it’s too late now considering how far along this is and the cost of entry on that would be higher than anybody in our industry can afford to do right now.”