December 31, 2008


by tolles at 5:43 PM

The folks at Businessweek were interested in a fostering a discussion around the death of print newspapers in light of the Christian Science Monitor's decision to discontinue their daily print edition (not to mention the health of the newspaper business in general.

So, I took on the pro-print side of the question (to some degree, just to be perverse). Of course I covered myself with caveats, and evidently, so did Jeff Jarvis, in the other side - "disappearing ink". So much so that the editor informed each of us (with a sigh I could hear over email) that we agreed too much to be interesting.

So we both squawked and put back the important points into our respective pieces, and I kind of like the result.

I do kind of miss the days when people like me (or Jeff) were out in left field and saying the obvious thing would find a raft of C level execs from big media touting the conventional wisdom. I can imagine this one was going to be a tough one to find someone who was going to play it completely safe. Jeff's a hack and is more critical of his tribe, I'm a flack, and happier to see media paying attention to things I care about (Thanks, Buisnessweek!)

I really do believe that smart publishers will figure out how to leverage their print products (full disclosure: I'm an online apostate and subscribe to the print SF Chronicle and the Sunday NY Times). The distribution opportunities should be too rich to ignore. But I also think it's going to be rarer and more commercial.

As an online guy, I will be somewhat gleeful in the ascension of online over print, mind you, and as I (tried) to say on the Businessweek piece, my team *does* win.