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June 04, 2007

Yes, Google Killed Newspapers

When Mr. Zell bought the Chicago Tribune a couple of months ago and blamed Google for stealing content, Calacanis and others rightly scoffed at such a claim.

My favorite news media analysis show, The Media Project, touched upon the news story but there’s wasn’t much coverage from the technology perspective, which is to be expected given that they’re journalists.

The Tribune purchase then gave way more recently to Murdoch’s bid to purchase the Dow Jones/WSJ from the Bancroft family. They first said never to Murdoch’s purchase but are now, just last week, deciding to actually meet with him and open the door for other possible suitors as well.

The newspaper industry is certainly in turmoil right now and if anybody knew how to fix it, they’re be a rich person. So while I can’t offer any silver bullet solutions, there’s certainly a consensus in the technology blogsphere that the newspapers themselves have failed to adapt to the new media age of the internet. But rather than be more introspective, the newspaper industry has generally pointed fingers at the internet, to companies like Google, and said that others are stealing their content and not being properly compensated when websites aggregate or “steal” their content.

Read Battelle’s recent commentary on this issue of Google having killed the newspaper industry. One of the more intriguing ideas is having Google and other internet players help support the traditional news media companies, to “evolve the fourth estate.”

Combine that rebuke of the newspaper industry’s woes with these 10 obvious things about their future and you can paint a good picture of what the newspaper industry shouldn’t be doing. If we eliminate all of the things the newspapers shouldn’t be doing, which pretty much entails what they’re still doing now and explains why they are not evolving with the times (they are making changes but they’re small and probably a little too late)


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