When local newspapers aren't local

The badly flawed Shorenstein report arguing that local newspapers are the most seriously threatened by the Internet already has been properly shredded by Jeff Jarvis, but there's another angle that strikes me: sloppy use of the word "local."

I believe that "local" is a powerful asset, not a liability, and that the Shorenstein report has tripped over a lack of precision in the use of that word.

The death of paid content?

Are we seeing the death of the paid content model?

There is chatter everywhere -- mostly speculative and unsourced -- about the Wall Street Journal potentially flipping to a free model, a possibility that Rupert Murdoch was described as calling "a wash" financially.

There is a report in the New York Post that TimesSelect is headed for the door. (Didn't they report the same thing a couple of weeks ago?)

Some answers for Bill Densmore and Chris Peck

Bill Densmore and Chris Peck have posed three interesting questions to people who have signed up for the Aug 7-8 "Journalism That Matters" seminar in Washington, and to members of a Facebook group. Here are my answers:

1) How does a community support journalism at a time when traditional newspaper-generated revenue is drying up?

I'm less concerned about journalism at the community level right now than I am about journalism at the national/global level.

Drug spammers exploit newspaper site search

As newspapers work to improve their search experience and embrace Web search as well as on-site search, they're being exploited by a new round of automated blog spam that displays Internet drug listings right on the newspapers' websites.

This allows unscrupulous scammers to present their pitch under the "trusted information provider" brand of the newspaper. And it undoubtedly undermines the newspaper's brand.

Tribune Company and McClatchy sites in particular are being targeted. [Update: also is being exploited.]

Only one click away

While reading coverage of the Minneapolis bridge collapse this morning, I was reminded how, on the Internet, all the world's media resources are just one click away, which is a boon for consumers but creates a difficult environment for producers, who now have to compete with everything at once.


AP's youth-focused ASAP service is shutting down in October, E&P reports. As a tool for AP to discover how to tell stories in the 21st century, it made perfect sense. As a business proposition, I could never see a way for it to succeed.

ASAP has two parts. One is content intended for print, delivered to member newspapers. The other is an online hosted service with audio and video components.

Selling ice cubes in Antarctica

Fortune has a piece on the challenges facing the newspaper business that asks: "Can newspaper publishers turn the Internet from a threat into an opportunity ...? It's a long shot, but it's their only hope. Their plight is something not often seen in business: Newspapers remain important institutions, providing a valuable public service, but their business model is slowly, or maybe not so slowly, going away."