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50 States, 50 Papers, No Clear Future

Here‘s a nice summary of the work conducted by a pair of interviewers who stopped by the Chronicle several months ago to ask us about the health and evolving nature of the news business.

Paul Steinle and Sara Brown visited a newspaper in each of the 50 states to ask publishers, editors, online managers and advertising staff about what they’re doing now to cope with the transition to a more digital way of doing business.

Here’s a paragraph that stuck out to me, but be sure to read the entire report at the link.

Among the major takeaways from the couple’s findings: Market size matters. Local news and watchdog reporting are indispensible assets. There’s no holy grail for digital revenue models. And the 21st century journalist better get used to working in a “Swiss army knife” mode of adaptability if he or she wants to get and keep a job, and that includes being well-versed on the business side of the newspaper industry.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might remember me writing a post critical of what I saw as a bias in their interview questions and in their attitudes against the digital side of the business, an impression I got that they considered the Web merely a disruptor to the traditional and holy dead-tree product.

I had a conversation with Steinle via email afterward — he never took up my invitation to post his comments to my blog and have the discussion in public. He said he was teasing. I can believe that, but the opinions I expressed in my original post have not changed.

Here’s the report they did at the Chronicle.