Some good stuff here.
From Krishna Bharat: “I believe the news industry is finding that it will not be able to sustain producing highly similar articles.”
The importance of presentation: “Schmidt and others talk about how much easier and more efficient it is to assess, at a glance, stories on a broadsheet newspaper page than to click through to see the full text on a screen…The three pillars of the new online business model…are distribution, engagement, and monetization. That is: getting news to more people, and more people to news-oriented sites; making the presentation of news more interesting, varied, and involving; and converting these larger and more strongly committed audiences into revenue, through both subscription fees and ads.”
I sent a note to Gordon Crovitz and Richard Zannino back in early 2007, at the time publisher and CEO of the Wall Street Journal, recommending that they think about digital formatting and presentation for people on the go. There's really nothing like scanning a broadsheet for efficiency; they have the format thought through, down to a science, and honed over time. But it's not intrinsically better - it's only because no one has really come up with a good replacement. Both Crovitz and Zannino were kind enough to respond to me, though their response was essentially that I might be interested in a program designed to train professionals to get the most of the WSJ. The last thing I want to do as a busy professional is take a training program on how to read a newspaper. WSJ was taken over by Murdoch not long thereafter.
One measure of whether a publication produces "high-quality journalism": "Burdened as they are with these “legacy” print costs, newspapers typically spend about 15 percent of their revenue on what, to the Internet world, are their only valuable assets: the people who report, analyze, and edit the news...Buying raw newsprint and using it costs more than the typical newspaper’s entire editorial staff. (The pattern is different at the two elite national papers, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. They each spend more on edit staff than on newsprint, which is part of the reason their brands are among the most likely to survive the current hard times.)"
High-quality journalism costs. I'm not advocating increasing salaries of mediocre journalists. I'm advocating investing in high-talent journalists and giving them the time, resources and scope to do what they do best.
As well as all that other stuff I mentioned before.
In reading this article, it occurs to me that Google is taking systems thinking to a whole new level. Their scope is not just their company, their ecosystem, their industry, the private sector - or alternatively, their region, state, country, online landscape. They are playing a worldwide all-in-scope game of mental chess and moving preemptively.
“We help people find content. We don’t generate content ourselves... We believe in making information accessible. The surest way to make it inaccessible is if it doesn’t get created in the first place. That is why it is in our interest to deal with the problems of the industry.” They are speaking of the newspaper industry but it wouldn't be too hard to make the leap to problems of political stability and environmental sustainability. Google Foundation makes much more sense now.