- Here’s where we share a “must-read” from the past two weeks, and this Jack Shafer piece on the “slow liquidation” of newspapers pulls out all the stops.
Mr. Shafer, since we’re all time challenged here, can you please connect the dots between the Times-Picayune and Detroit Free Press print cutbacks, the fire sale price of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, subscription price increases in New York, Chicago, and L.A, Warren Buffett’s purchase of $142 million purchase of 63 mid-market newspapers, and a summer book recommendation to top it all off?
In his 2004 book The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age, Philip Meyer imagined “the final stages” of a “squeeze scenario” by a newspaper owner who wanted to exit the business but didn’t want to actually sell the title: He would start charging more for his newspaper and delivering less, commencing the “slow liquidation” of his property. This slow liquidation would not be immediately apparent to observers, Meyer wrote, because the asset “being converted to cash” would be “goodwill” – the newspaper’s standing in the community and the habit of advertisers and subscribers of giving it money …
Selling goodwill is a dangerous strategy because once sold, it’s difficult to reacquire. But a newspaper owner who feels trapped by losses and can’t find a new owner at what he considers a fair price may feel he has no alternative but to cheapen his newspaper bit-by-bit, month-by-month.
And if Shafer doesn’t satisfy your gloom & doom fix, see Justin Fox’s “Why Newspapers Were Doomed All Along,” at the Harvard Business Review.
- The death of the daily newspaper couldn’t have come at a worse time for Middle America, writes Alex Pareene.
- Are advertising exchanges leading us on a race to the bottom for digital ad prices?
- As Google assembles its advertising programs into a coherent package, publishers will have to decide whether to “join up with Goliath or compete against it.”
- Here are Howard Owens and Ryan Chittum arguing about paywalls.
- “Can Chinese goats subsidize substance?” The Nieman Journalism Lab asks whether the traffic generated by Gawker’s viral posts can pay the bills for its journalists to do more serious work.
- Why traditional media should be afraid of Twitter.
- Online ad revenue hit $8.4 billion during the first quarter of 2012, and mobile revenue doubled.
- Why mobile will dominate the future of media and advertising.
- Why 88% of books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white authors.
- In the shift to social, who’s doing it right? A panel of white males discusses.
- Your news organization’s social media policy may be illegal.
- Why online hyperlocals fail on a national level.
- Monetizing mobile requires more than just waiting for ad dollars.
- Patch has launched Patch Partners, a “website of curated small-business insights,” to support small businesses.
- Media companies are taking less than 10% of the deals market, but are well positioned to take in much more, says NetNewsCheck’s Michael Depp.
- What’s the difference between an internet troll and somebody who just has very bad manners?
- “More soon,” a sampling of electronic correspondence with magazine editors.
- And finally, we cast our eyes abroad for innovative ideas on the future of news. Turkmenistan’s autocratic government has successfully boosted newspaper circulation with a creative concept: By forcing government workers to buy subscriptions.
Yeah, so about last week. We were kinda busy. No hard feelings? We have two weeks to catch up on, so … shall we?
Photo credit: badahos/Shutterstock