Local News Revisited.


The What’s The Idea? blog began in 2007, a little over 2,600 posts ago. At the time I was up in the grill of The New York Times for being slow to catch on to digital media. As the world’s premier news organization, how could it not innovate in the digital space? When the financial crash happened and the NYT paper-paper couldn’t sell full page ad to save its life — and the sections were shrinking in size — someone finally got their shit together and tazed the online property. (In retrospect, putting Martin Sorrell, an ad guy, in charge was probably not the smartest idea.)

The old gray lady took a couple of shots to the nose, but finally emerged with a strong digital property. Today, the digital NYT is delivering healthy revenue to the bottom line, with paywall subscribers from around the world consuming podcasts, video and other endemic assets – all state of the art. Interestingly, the national edition of the NYT distributed in NC carried not a single (paid) full page ad in the A section today. Guess who is carrying that water?

Gannett merged with New Media yesterday in the hopes of creating better capital positions by moving toward a more digital future. Printing plants will consolidate creating savings and the strategy is to create new revenue by providing local value with a, hopefully, efficient national land grab. The problem is, local is not scalable. My local Asheville-Citizen Times, a Gannett property, is so thin birdcages owners are looking elsewhere. Gannett/New Media can succeed, but not by becoming Angie’s List. Where’s the tazer? Where are the Millennials and Gen Zers geniuses?

Imma put some more thought to this and report back. Local is a positive word in today’s sustainability minded business environment. Digital news should be a solution.