Whither Newspapers

Hpim2377I had breakfast with Jay Rosen yesterday.  He’s a very bright guy and if you want to understand the future of the press in a one to one world, you ought to read his blog and his book when it comes out.

Jay pointed me (and all of us) to Craig Newmark of craigslist.  And righfully so, for two reasons.

First, craigslist is taking the life out of the local newspaper’s classifieds business.  I have heard that craigslist took $65mm out of the San Fransisco classifieds business just last year.  Gone.  Poof.  Up in smoke.  And look at the right side of the page on craigslist.  If you are a newspaper executive and your community is on that list, you’ve got a big problem.  Because classifieds is the major revenue stream that makes a local newspaper work.  You lose that, the paper goes away.

So, the second reason that Jay points us to Craig is on Craig’s Blog where Craig expresses an interest in solving this problem that he has created.  Not for the newspapers I suspect, but for the local communities that rely on some form of a journalistic endeavor to inform, educate, and entertain them with news and information about their community.

Now that is fascinating to me.  I have been interested in the intersection of citizen’s media and the newspaper business and I think local communities is one place its going to happen bigtime.  And if Craig wants to be part of that solution, I think that’s a big deal.