Here’s another of those “the print ship is sinking, hurry up and get off it” posts you see every so often, this one a guest post on TechCrunch by Jordan Kurzweil, co-CEO of digital business agency Independent Content.

Kurzweil starts by recommending that newspapers “face reality”:

– The audiences of traditional print brands on paper and pixel are aging.

– Digital upstarts are capturing the new audiences, and stealing your least loyal current readers.

– The cost structures of Old Print companies are out of whack with the times.

– New technology is further commoditizing content, and fragmenting audience.

– In-house digital innovation at Old Print companies is largely non-existent, stymied by outmoded, editorial-first ego at the top, and fearful protectionism of current revenue sources: print subscriptions, ad pages and banner impressions.

He goes on to recommend companies reorganize their staff and cost structure and change their entire way of thinking to get with the new digital reality, rather than keep trying to stick “a finger in the dyke” with paywalls to protect their old way of doing business.

It is likely good advice (though it is worth bearing in mind that Kurzweil makes his money from helping companies launch digital products). Still, I have to say there have been so many posts like this that after a while, all these stories and executives saying the same thing tend to start to look the same. And still the traditional newspapers erect paywalls.

It will be interesting to see who is right: the burn-the-boats digital crowd or the paywall building print crew. Sooner or later, one side or the other will get to say “I told you so.”


  1. Kurzweil is correct, newspapers are dying. They still depend on ad revenue, revenue that now has many other places to go. Classified ads have also moved elsewhere, mainly to Craigslist. Our paper, The Rocky Mountain News, went under a few years ago just because their tabloid format didn’t hold as many ads as their rival The Denver Post’s broadsheet format. Even though it was the better paper.

    I currently work for a company which provides services to the newspaper industry. We have been working on ideas to broaden our client base outside of newspapers for a couple of years. In the meantime, most of our clients have cut staff, reorganized several times, and slashed budget, but have yet to actually change their failing business model.

    Show me anyone under 30 actually reading a print newspaper and I’ll concede that I’m wrong. I’m almost 50 and I haven’t read a print newspaper since the Rocky went under. Why would I? I never liked The Denver Post and get all of the news online, at least a day before the newspaper edition. For free.

  2. I’m 20 years old, and i prefer to read my news online, as today we almost cant go without internet, whether your studying or working. I tend to relax on my laptop after finishing my work and catch up with the news there, when you feel like you want to hear about what’s going on in the world as opposed to it being printed in newspapers and being sold everywhere. Its like it’s repeating itself, everywhere we go is about news that mainly doesnt event concern us unless your specifically concerned about something. Newspapers just like to shove things in your face, i think the open-mindedness of people don’t need that today. especially in the UK, where everyone is so busy and stressed out already with information!

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