Friday, January 26, 2007

The Inexorable Migration of News from Print to Online

Alas my blogging has gone into deep freeze mode, along with the New England weather.

Over the last week, I was struck by the juxtaposition of several news stories, which underscore the rapid and much-lamented change in the news landscape.

Item 1: This news from Nielsen/NetRatings was everywhere: Web traffic to the blog pages of the top 10 online newspapers grew 210% year over year in December. Unique visitors to blog pages accounted for 13% of their December Web traffic, up 9 points from 4% in December 2005.

So while newspapers are getting clobbered on the ad side, they're gaining traffic on the Web side. Now they just have to figure out how to monetize it.

Item 2: Time Inc., the leading magazine publisher in the U.S. and U.K., announced the layoff of 289 staffers, along with several regional bureau closings. "The layoffs are about the restructuring of our editorial staffs as we move quickly into a future of flexible, multiplatform content creation," typed John Huey, Time Inc.'s editor in chief, in an email to staff, according to this Washington Post story.

The New York Times headline spin on this was interesting: "Time Inc. Cutting Almost 300 Magazine Jobs to Focus More on Web Sites." It really spelled out the evolution from print to online.

Item 3: The Boston Globe closed its three remaining foreign bureaus. I had remarked recently to a friend that I was surprised the Globe had not long since turned to its parent, the New York Times, for its international coverage. In closing bureaus in Berlin, Bogota, and Jerusalem, the Globe article notes that the publication "avoids cutting an additional 'dozen or so' newsroom jobs."

You could see this one coming, but it was still sad.

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