At Content Bridge, Ken Doctor has a thoughtful look at the transitions, longer-term, looming in the newspaper business, and how the likely acquisition of the Wall Street Journal is just a very early move in a high-stakes, transformative chess game:
All press companies — whether they’ve got 10% of their companies tied up in newspapers or all of it — better be working on the long-term plan. That may mean going private, taking on cash-rich partners, or selling themselves to friendly uncles who have cash flow from other businesses to protect news operations. Cost-cutting, out-sourcing and off-shoring will all help, but they don’t look sufficient. At some point, traditional news operations will lose a critical mass of news-gathering and into the breach will come online-only operations, unburdened by legacy costs. That won’t entirely be a bad thing, but we all want to know and be able to trust who in fact is bringing us our news, who’s keeping tabs on the government and the powerful. Right now, the press we knew is in full retreat and their replacements are but sprouts.