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"The People Really Terrified Of Craigslist Are The NY Times"
By Ed Driscoll · March 27, 2006 11:35 PM · Oh, That Liberal Media!

Jeff Jarvis attends a speech by Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, and notes that to most aficionados of blogs, "there’s not much unheard-of in his speech — except that you won’t hear any of it coming from the mouths of editors elsewhere". Here's but a sample:

Cue picture of Craig Newmark. Russbridger explains Craigslist, its impact on the newspaper industry, and its “very unusual business model: It’s free to both sides…. Now that’s a difficult business model to beat.” He says that “the people who are really terrified of Craig Newmark are The New York Times.” [They're far from the only ones, of course--Ed] He explains that job ads on Craigslist in three cities cost $20 — and that adds up to $10 million a year among 18 employees, he estimates. Then he demonstrates ordering a deluxe $958 ad on the NY Times site — he makes up a call for journalists to work in Guardian America, “and I told them to apply to C.P. Scott in Manchester” (the Guardian’s legendary editor of 57 years). The contrast continues: He shows pictures of Craig’s humble headquarters and the new Times headquarters — “and you see the nature of The New York Times’ problem.” Of course, falling advertising is the problem. Rusbridger reviews the history of newspapers. In Britain, in the beginning, newspapers were supported by their politicians until “advertisers gave newspapers a form of independence.” But now those advertisers are going elsewhere. “There are great, bleeding chunks going out of newspaper revenue at a time when sales are down…. Most journalists are finally getting this The penny is finally dropping….

But he continues: “They’re not necessarily quite up with the next bit, which is about the changing nature of editorial. And this is a thing which is more difficult to grasp and for journalists in a way much more threatening. And I think we’re only at the beginning of trying to figure what this one is all about.”

He calls papers like The New York Times “a tablet of stone, it is a paper of great authority. And if you ever go to a New York Times editorial meeting, it’s a bit like a religious ceremony.” [That's rather ironic--Ed] He talks about the effort and resource that goes into the front page. “‘Believe us,’ is the message. If it goes onto the front page of The New York Times it’s there because it’s important…. ‘You may not want to read it but it’s our opinion.’ And this is a model that has existed again for a hundred years….

And mankind used the horse for over four millennia before envisioning more flexible and robust methods of transportation. How are your shares of Buggy Whips, Inc. trading these days?

(Via Hugh Hewitt.)

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