I love newspapers since I was a kid.
There is always something special in the feeling of turning pages and in each of them finding new information or new findings about known information, the color ads, the photography.
Newspapers and magazines for me relate to independence, freedom, relaxing, discovering the world:
- the huge stack of newspapers that my father brings on Fridays
- sitting in a coffee, drinking a real espresso (not the Starbucks version) and reading a newspaper
- reading for the first time about Watergate and running to Blockbuster to rent All The President’s Men
- Visiting NYC for the first time and buying the Sunday edition New Your Times with the NYTimes Magazine in it
And then came the internet.
- I now have almost 100 different feeds on my Google Reader
- I read Israeli newspapers online for breakfast, and then browse The Wall Street Journal
- The AJC, the local newspaper, feels to me like a lot of ads with some news added
- WashingtonPost.com offers a coverage of Watergate that no print newspaper can offer
On a less private note – newspapers are in trouble. Although it makes me sad, it makes sens if you look at the business aspect of it. Most of the newspapers were (too) late-adopters of the internet.
Now online, newspapers still did not find right business model. As this NYtimes map (via Gal Mor) shows, the results range from online only versions as in the case of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to the closing Rocky Mountain News
Currently, two options make most sense to me:
- The WSJ freemium model as described in Chris Anderson’s analysis here
- The model of newspapers as curators of good blog content. Last week I was on a flight from thr British Virgin Island to Atlanta and picked the US Airways Magazine. The editors curated a great selection of articles with pieces from HBR to Stuff White People Like and I ended up taking it home. As long as the writers are paid for this great content, I support it.
I like business since any turmoil is an opportunity for new models. Clay Shirky best describes the opportunities in the newspapers’ state.