Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Print Media's Collapse Accelerates

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will likely cease paper publication within 60 days.

Slog reports:
No matter how you feel about the P-I or the decline of newspapers in general, this video of today's announcement that the P-I will be put up for sale is heartbreaking:


Watch the man in the background. That's David McCumber, the P-I's managing editor, fidgeting, rubbing his eyes, trying to hold it together. The sound of the police scanner still going, and of the phones still ringing, while the man from Hearst tells everyone that it's over for the paper as they know it.


A newspaper that's existed in this city since 1863 has, most likely, only 60 more days.

This sort of scene is likely to be repeated in newsrooms around the country this year. So it wouldn't seem that now is a good time to be getting into the journalism profession. But appearances can be deceiving.

Warren Buffet, the mega-billionaire "Oracle of Omaha" has famously advised as follows: "I will tell you how to become rich. ... Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful."

It's difficult to think of a time in the history of American journalism that people in the industry were more fearful than they are right now. The traditional business model has collapsed and a successful new one has yet to emerge. But the first people to figure it out will reap significant rewards. And I have a few ideas to try out. So we'll see.


Slog continues coverage of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's seemingly inevitable demise here.

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