Thursday, October 30, 2008

"...paper is not just how news is delivered; it is how it is paid for."

So wrote David Carr in the NYT this week. His column includes a "print deathwatch" roll call as well as an oblique reminder that it's not where the news appears that matters -- but how we will pay for folks to cover it. Scary stuff.

Clearly, reinvention must be on the horizon. Or under the rug. Wherever. Let's just hope the smart people are looking.

But meanwhile, back to Carr. He writes:

"More than 90 percent of the newspaper industry’s revenue still derives from the print product, a legacy technology that attracts fewer consumers and advertisers every single day. A single newspaper ad might cost many thousands of dollars while an online ad might only bring in $20 for each 1,000 customers who see it.

The difference between print dollars and digital dimes — or sometimes pennies — is being taken out of the newsrooms that supply both. And while it is indeed tough all over in this economy, consider the consequences.

New Jersey, a petri dish of corruption, will have to make do with 40 percent fewer reporters at The Star-Ledger, one of the few remaining cops on the beat. The Los Angeles Times, which toils under Hollywood’s nose, has one movie reviewer left on staff. And dozens of communities served by Gannett will have fewer reporters and editors overseeing the deeds and misdeeds of local government and businesses."

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