Hello? Anyone Ever Heard of the I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T?
While the L.A. Times was busy firing an editor this week for having an affair with Brian Glaser’s publicist and then hiring him as a guest editor, much more momentous things were happening in the newspaper business.
Billionaire investor Sam Zell was reportedly bidding $33 a share for the Times’ troubled parent Tribune Co.;while newspaper analyst John Morton and media economist Miles Groves were shutting down the 31-year-old Morton-Groves Newspaper Newsletter, the newspaper business bible.
"I’m getting tired of producing painful forecasts,” Groves told Forbes. "Recently, as down as they get to be, they never seem to be down enough.”
Well, that’s because Groves is looking through the wrong end of the binoculars. Yes, most newspapers will die. But news and journalists will not die. They will migrate to the web.
If you don’t believe me, precisely what are you doing at this moment? OK, my blog isn’t exactly news, but you see my point.
Just because newsprint dies doesn’t mean news dies, any more than NBC and Fox’s programs die when they migrate to the web (see NBC and Fox’s Online Deal: If You Focus on Google, You’re Missing the Point and What NBC and TV Learned from Music’s Mistakes).
The problem with the newspaper business is not declining sales. That’s just a symptom of the industry’s stubborn resistance to embrace the flight of readers to the web. Advertising, want ads, event calendars, auto buying — it’s all there, guys, and people are monetizing it. Why aren’t you?