And a comment by Alan Rushbridger the Guardian Editor
Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger went years past where I planned to time-travel the next day. Talking about the presses they’d just spent tens of millions of pounds buying, he shrugged and said:
“They may be the last presses we ever own.”
It’s not about saving anything. Instead, this is about seizing the opportunity of the internet and whatever that brings.
The people here who are trying to save papers are concentrating on the wrong assets. Listen to Dr. Burda again: He’s not saving paper and presses or even content and creators. He’s growing in new spheres:
"We now concentrate on using social software to build closer relations with the communities of readers around our magazines."
I’ll say it again: Distribution is not king. Content is not king. Conversation is the kingdom. It’s about relationships. Burda gets it. That’s what my conversations in Europe were about.
Interesting too is Jarvis's insight into how Rupert is adapting to survive
Rupert Murdoch gets it, too. Note well that he did not buy a content company or a distribution company with producers or presses when he acquired MySpace . He bought a relationships company.
This means changing the very essence of what a newspaper is. It’s not about scarcity. It’s not even about news as mere news. Dr. Burda again (echoing VC Vinod Khosla at Web 2.0):
"News has now become a commodity, thanks to the Internet, so we must differentiate ourselves in other ways. Content alone can no longer win. You must build and interact with audiences."
I think Jeff makes a lot of sense and something that we at SMLXL believe in fully when he says
Our task is to stop seeing old failings everywhere and start seeing all the new opportunities before us, to exploit the future.
The first step is to change the way we think. We have to stop thinking of ourselves on paper. Stop thinking one-way and start thinking two-way. Stop thinking centralized and start thinking distributed. Stop thinking about holding trust and power and start thinking about earning and sharing both. Stop thinking we make money by creating friction and owning scarcity and start thinking about how we can make and share money by enabling people to do what they want to do. Stop thinking of what we produce as paper. We need to stop thinking of newspapers as things.
1). No matter how much I or any other reporter or editor may know about a subject, some of the readers know more. What's more, if you give those readers an easy way to contribute their knowledge to a story, they will.
We wrote about the newsprint industry in our book and we blogged about it last year - here are some relevant posts
Life is local
Broadband strategies in a converged world
Can your company survive and even prosper in chaotic times?