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Newmark Denies Craigslist Is Killing Newspapers 132

Posted by timothy
from the craig-newmark-personal-hero dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Computerworld has an interview with Craig Newmark about the history of Craigslist and it's growth over the years (it's now expanding into foreign-language markets — it recently created several Spanish sites in Spanish cities). He also disputes the notion that Craigslist is responsible for dismantling newspapers' revenue models. Rather, he blames niche-classified sites like autotrader.com and Monster as well as newspapers' unrealistic profit expectations in the new media world: 'Newspapers are going after 10% to 30% profit margins for their businesses and that hurts them more than anything. A lot of things are happening on the Internet that never happened before because the Internet is a vehicle for everyone. The mass media is no longer only for the powerful, and that's a huge change for the entire newspaper and news industry."
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Newmark Denies Craigslist Is Killing Newspapers

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  • by Asmor (775910) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:47PM (#21808174) Homepage
    On the one hand, the newspaper's days are numbered. Who wants to go outside and dig their paper out of the snow to read yesterday's news when they can go online and get what's happening right now?

    On the other hand, that's a damn shame. All the news media in recent times has become, frankly, a laughing stock, but newspapers it seems have held onto the most integrity (not that that's saying much). More importantly, we need someone who can pay reporters to investigate the government, and bloggers just aren't going to cut it.

    I fear living in a world where the only things a government has to worry about are citizen journalists and internal leaks.
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:55PM (#21808240) Journal

      On the one hand, the newspaper's days are numbered. Who wants to go outside and dig their paper out of the snow to read yesterday's news when they can go online and get what's happening right now?
      Because they prefer being able to hold something in their hands with high "resolution" while not risking damaging an expensive item, and which is easier on their eyes, and which can compactly contain information about local events and businesses that haven't reconciled everything with Google maps just yet.

      Not saying newspapers are superior, just listing advantages, and one of the reasons I've considered getting a subscription.
      • You can spill coffee on a newspaper in early morning stupor and only lose a newspaper. I'm too poor to try that with a laptop or kindle, but I'm fairly certain the results will be a tad more expensive.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by timeOday (582209)

        Not saying newspapers are superior, just listing advantages, and one of the reasons I've considered getting a subscription.
        Well, that pretty much sums it up, doesn't it. Personally I've recently cancelled my newspaper subscription; evening news on the PVR + the web (mainly cnn and craigslist) is simply better, and doesn't pile up in my garage. No fuss, no muss.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by value_added (719364)
          Well, that pretty much sums it up, doesn't it. Personally I've recently cancelled my newspaper subscription; evening news on the PVR + the web (mainly cnn and craigslist) is simply better, and doesn't pile up in my garage. No fuss, no muss.

          Seems to me that such an opinion could be rewritten to read:

          I consider news to be a half-hour multimedia event that presents superficial coverage of major events, or events that appeal only to the broadest demographic, and am willing to have the the rest summarised in the
          • by timeOday (582209)

            You can get "more" news in a half-hour of NPR than you would find by combining what's presented on all the major networks, CNN, and or offered up and re-interpreted by the cable-channel pundits in a given 24-hour cycle.

            Actually I agree with that entirely. Although I mentioned and visit cnn, I agree it's 99% just little updates to current events as they occur by the hour. I listen to NPR on the way home from work every day - on my mp3 player, so I can skip to the more interesting stories. (And yes I am

            • by gr8scot (1172435)

              Pundits, they are not news. And neither do I consider them entertaining, they're just dreck.

              That's why I cut out the middlemen, who presume to distribute the commodity advertised as "news" in the style correctly termed commentary or editorial. Some facts cannot be made entertaining, and seeing them presented in formats designed for entertainment purposes is distracting from their real significance.

              http://news.myway.com/index.html

              But if that's not substantive enough for you, there's the MacNeil Lehrer News

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mac1235 (962716)
        And because you can't put a website in the bottom of the parrot cage. Well, maybe MSN.
      • by master_p (608214)
        You forgot the most important advantage: taking them to the bathroom.
    • by cjsm (804001)
      Who really has time to read a newspaper anymore? With the internet, cable TV, video games, a wife and kids, and a job, how many people have an hour or two extra to read the paper also. I have a bunch of magazines piled up that I've never gotten around to reading because I spend so much time on the internet.
    • What the hell?! That actually happens, with newspaper thrown in the yard? I thought that was just on TV and the game Paper Boy!

      Here in civilized countries our paperboys walk up to the front door and shove the papers through our mail slots, or (if we have a mailbox) they shove it into the mailbox.

      (Or they dump the papers in the garbage and go back to sleep; I believe this is a cross-cultural thing)
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        In the US it's illegal to put anything by the US Mail
        in a "mailbox". Some newspapers are VERY touchy about
        that sort of thing.

        OTOH, there are "newspaper boxes". There are also
        porches in some places. In many newer urban US
        neighborhoods, the personal mailbox as such doesn't
        even exist anymore.

        You just have an appartment style set of locked
        post office style boxes planted down the street.

        Letter carriers don't even walk in this country anymore...
        • by Skater (41976)

          Letter carriers don't even walk in this country anymore...
          Mine does. Yes, he drives the truck to the neighborhood, but then I see him walking from house to house delivering the mail. If I'm working outside he'll at least wave, but usually he stops to chat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        What the hell?! That actually happens, with newspaper thrown in the yard? I thought that was just on TV and the game Paper Boy!

        Here in civilized countries our paperboys walk up to the front door and shove the papers through our mail slots, or (if we have a mailbox) they shove it into the mailbox.

        (Or they dump the papers in the garbage and go back to sleep; I believe this is a cross-cultural thing)

        Time is money, if houses are far apart and/or not close to the road a lot of paper delivery peop
        • by eharvill (991859)

          I had a job where I did nothing but bring a new newspaper to anyone who called up and said their paper landed in a puddle, snow bank, on their roof, or was missing a section, etc. When people would call up and complain I would suggest they tip their delivery person better. The paper lost a lot of customers. Deliveries were handled by private contractors, thats the free market at work. If your getting $.15 cents a paper you sure can't spend 2 minutes on each one.

          Why is the delivery person's salary my problem?? If I were so inclined, how would I even tip the person as they simply drive by at 5AM and toss the paper through the window of their car.

          How much money did it cost the paper for re-deliveries? Maybe they should have paid their delivery staff more and possibly solved the problem of poorly delivered newspapers...

    • by corychristison (951993) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:59PM (#21808282)

      I hear ya.

      The newspaper is stale and (here) it costs more than it is worth. You get little to no news, the only thing worth looking at is the crossword or sudoku. I haven't subscribed to the paper since I moved into my most recent apartment (11 months ago on the new year).

      We have a community website that is run by one of the local radio stations... it has fairly "up-to-the-minute" updates and is generally very informative. It's entirely free and funded by advertising from LOCAL businesses. Being a business owner, I've noticed a fairly steady increase in traffic since I've gotten some ads put up.

      • As a newspaper (well, alt-weekly) editor, I've got to respond to this.

        You could have written your comment from my town. I work in the same offices as the local daily, and got my start as a beat reporter for them.

        In my mind, the problem comes down to profit margin. Sure, Craigslist is eating up classified ad revenue. I've been in those meetings, too. There's not as much money coming in.

        So what's the initial solution? Cutting positions in the editorial department (that's the folks what does the writin').

        The p
      • My guess, Cory, is that you probably don't really care what's going on outside your own little world. Otherwise, you wouldn't say newspapers provide "little to no news." My local daily is full of wire service reports from around the world. A typical edition usually has one or two lengthy staff-written pieces about local and regional matters that will not appear in any other mediium. Can the paper's distribution system compete with the speed of other media? No. But no other media reports in the depth tha
        • by jcr (53032)
          you probably don't really care what's going on outside your own little world

          Smug, much?

          My local daily is full of wire service reports from around the world

          So is Google News. What's your point?

          -jcr
          • 1. The OP seemed to be cheerleading for the demise of newspapers, but my guess is he wouldn't subscribe to a paper if it was the only way to get the news.

            2. My point: Google News is software and serves. It contributes nothing to the pool of original news writing and reportage. My local newspaper -- which is smart enough to have had a serious web presence for years -- creates original news that I can get only from it, whether I read it at the breakfast table or inside my browser.
        • Wow... I suppose I should know better than to post something like this on a website such as this.

          I stated my opinion... and I got an asshole response. Go figure.

          • >>"I stated my opinion... and I got an asshole response. Go figure."

            Is that how you characterize everyone who disagrees with you?

            Newspapers and the wire services that exist to produce and sell news copy to the papers, create news. Operations like community websites, top-of-the-hour radio news, Google News, etc., simply distribute news others have created. They could all vanish with no reduction in the amount of available news.
            • Apparently I am not as enthusiastic about the news as you are ("ZOMFG!!!!11!! Save teh newz papehs!").

              I live in a small city with barely 30,000 people. We are in Saskatchewan, Canada... quite frankly I'm tired of reading the bullshit that comes from our neighboring country... Yes. If something bad had happened, I would hear about it by other means (it's not as though I sit at home and never socialize).

              If you read my fucking post and don't criticize me because I don't sit there and analyze every aspect of ev
              • Fine. If I lived where you live, I'd probably have the same opinion about the local paper. If it's a daily, your lucky; it's pretty hard to attract the advertising revenue to sustain a paper in small-town market. It's great that you can still read the news on the local site and on Google and elsewhere.

                What annoys me, though, is the enthusiasm for the newspaper's demise, and the usual assertions that no one needs papers anymore because they can read the news on Google. That's what I took from your
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:12PM (#21808404) Homepage

      Who wants to go outside and dig their paper out of the snow to read yesterday's news when they can go online and get what's happening right now?

      People who don't want to have to sit in front of a computer to do so? Paper isn't such a bad technology.


      All the news media in recent times has become, frankly, a laughing stock, but newspapers it seems have held onto the most integrity (not that that's saying much). More importantly, we need someone who can pay reporters to investigate the government, and bloggers just aren't going to cut it.

      And that's why newspapers will survive. We need paid people that are going to do the legwork and investigation. Where do you go to get news on the internet? As you say, the print media are the ones with the best stories. Not everyone might subscribe the the paper edition, but they'll still go to the website. Newspapers really make money off advertising anyway, not subscriptions.

      The real problem with newspapers is just what Craig said. Investors expect really high profit margins of 10-30%. They aren't going out of business, but the business is certainly changing.
      • The real problem with newspapers is just what Craig said. Investors expect really high profit margins of 10-30%. They aren't going out of business, but the business is certainly changing.

        One of the huge changes: they've cut production staff by 50%. At least, that's what they've done with the paper my father has worked at for 30+ years. They closed down one print shop completely, centralized production, and are down from 9 men per print-press to 5 (and cut down on shifts per week). There are a ton more mess ups (double pages, mis-aligned colors, etc) and everyone now hates their job.

        Somehow, I doubt the people who are at the top have changed their schedule or life to accommodate this

      • by Asmor (775910) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:58PM (#21808766) Homepage


        All the news media in recent times has become, frankly, a laughing stock, but newspapers it seems have held onto the most integrity (not that that's saying much). More importantly, we need someone who can pay reporters to investigate the government, and bloggers just aren't going to cut it.

        And that's why newspapers will survive. We need paid people that are going to do the legwork and investigation.
        Close, but you're missing the point a bit... That is not why newspapers will survive, that is why they must survive.

        Unfortunately, while hard-hitting investigative journalism is very necessary to the continued functioning of society, it is not something which is profitable. Since it is not profitable, it doesn't seem likely that it will survive.

        You and I may think it's worth paying for that, but by and large Americans do not. They're perfectly happy to sit and watch entertainment programs like their local Faux News, where they can hear about the puppy that was rescued from a burning building by a cat. Meanwhile, since it's got "news" in the title, they feel like they're actually learning about what's going on in the world without having to do any of that "reading" thing the teachers kept trying to cram down their throats in school.

        Make no mistake, I agree with you that newspapers are important, but I don't think that they're going to be able to survive.
        • by Vellmont (569020)

          Unfortunately, while hard-hitting investigative journalism is very necessary to the continued functioning of society, it is not something which is profitable.

          This is simply not true. It IS profitable. It's simply not as profitable as some people would like.
          • This is simply not true. It IS profitable. It's simply not as profitable as some people would like.

            Ultimately, in this day and age, I fear the two are taken as synonyms. Much like the original and present meanings of the word 'perfect'.

            • by dwater (72834)

              Much like the original and present meanings of the word 'perfect'.

              eh? I, for one, am getting old. Care to enlighten (at least) me?
              • Bah, disregard that completely. For some odd reason or another I brain-cramped and figured that people only use "perfect" in the "so good, nothing of the sort could beat it" or "ideal" senses of the word, whereas the less absolute statements of quality it can mean had fallen into disuse (like "a good fit" -- "this computer is perfect for your needs").

                Here's some interesting read on the concept of perfection, though. [wikipedia.org]/p

        • by Kadin2048 (468275) *

          Unfortunately, while hard-hitting investigative journalism is very necessary to the continued functioning of society, it is not something which is profitable. Since it is not profitable, it doesn't seem likely that it will survive.

          That doesn't make sense. If it wasn't profitable, nobody would be doing it today. Since they are, it follows that it must be at least somewhat profitable -- perhaps not very much, but at least slightly.

          I think the future will see a separation of content-creation and distribution. In the old model, a newspaper would do both: they paid reporters to do research and write stories; they also distributed the content, which included printing the paper and selling advertising. In the new model, reporters won't

        • by davidsyes (765062)
          So, what are the papers complaining about then? Loss of revenues, or competition from CL about journalism?

          I don't see CL as a threat to journalism, not by a longshot. So, the papers are whining that they are losing to CL because CL is offering, what, basically a FREE, easy-to-search service? WHY can't the brick-and-mortars printers have beaten CL to the punch? Not as if CL were being malicious. The papers didn't because they didn't have the WILL, or the FORESIGHT early on to think as visionaries. They jumpe
        • by ghyd (981064)
          "You and I may think it's worth paying for that, but by and large Americans do not." A type of media which implied cost do not filter out such content will be good then. Seems like a job for Internet.
        • My Grandparents, who live in rural Wisconsin, told me their only information on what's happening outside of the U.S.A. is the local evening news, which gives a 60-second whirlwind medley of the day's international events. I asked them if they ever remembered anything from it and they said no, not because they're not interested but because it goes by too fast - they don't have time to focus in on any of the content.

          Ah yes - news reporting - just another reason from the long list of reasons why I'm glad I emi
      • by Znork (31774)
        "Paper isn't such a bad technology."

        As a midterm storage technology, no. As a short-term information carrier it's horrible. The main reason I'm not subscribing to a paper isn't that the news is late or I couldnt spare the time to read a few articles.

        It's that it piles up fast and it's a pain to carry to the recycling station.

        Perhaps they could deliver it in toilet paper or soft tissue form; that way I'd have a use for it, and it'd be easily disposable after I'm done reading it.

        "We need paid people that are
      • by timeOday (582209)

        People who don't want to have to sit in front of a computer to do so?
        Laptops are cheap enough, and easier to flip through than a newspaper. The paper reigns supreme only for the 15 minutes before the airplane reaches 10,000 feet :)
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Monday December 24, 2007 @03:15PM (#21808896) Journal
      I disagree. I think the newspapers' godoffal web sites with all the blinkey flashey advertising and javascript asking you if you want to debug it and the same story endlessly linked over and over on its index page is what is killing newspapers.

      People are starting to realise that newspapers are published, edited, and written by utter morons.
    • Who's talking about killing journalism for profit? Nobody. The newspaper's days as distribution model are fading. Notice that people still subscribe to the New York Times online. The fact a lot of papers will be put out of business. A lot of local newspapers are flat out cruft. They reprint syndicated columnists and give out a minimum of news about the area. This change is good. I'm not one that enjoys journalism for profit, as I get most of my news from aggregators like here or not-for-profit stuff like PB
    • I don't know what it's like in the US; but here in the UK the newspapers comment and leading articles far outclasses that of the web.

      The Times, in particular has comment and leading articles with the kind of firm backing in fact and insight that I have yet to find on web. Typically, comment on the web is done either by some part timer or arm chair blogger who lack the connections or the background knowledge to make the kind of argument that I value. On political topics, bloggers often tend to be highly
    • "I fear living in a world where the only things a government has to worry about are citizen journalists and internal leaks."

      What, online news media outlets don't count? The fact that they convey their message with bits and bytes instead of dead trees doesn't make much difference to me. Also, do you seriously believe governments don't exert huge amounts of influence over traditional media "regimes"?

      Take China, for example. State-run newspapers, state-run newscasts, etc. Hell, one of the only ways free
    • by jcr (53032)
      I get so much junk mail that I no longer need newspapers for getting a fire going in my fireplace.

      I'll still buy a paper once in a while when I'm traveling, but I haven't subscribed to one at home for at least a decade now.

      -jcr

    • I disagree... local weekly papers are still prospering.

      The endangered species is the traditional daily paper, 90% of which consists of the same 10 AP stories that you can get anywhere.
    • by Seumas (6865)
      You're killing your father, Craigslist!
    • Is the death of newspapers, death of journalism? I appreciate the fact that the quality of average newspaper article far surpasses the quality of the average blog. In addition that a lot of news online directly and indirectly originates from newspaper articles.

      However it is possible to have a website, that has the same quality writers and same quality articles as your favorite newspaper, with its investigative journalist and all. The real problem is, tab surfing. Internet surfers have shorter attention

  • eBay, ubid, and countless other auction sites, along with the formentioned craigs list, autotrader, etc, etc. etc. The whole paper-classifieds industry is coming down. If newspapers don't take local classifieds to the internet and find a way to make some $$ of of it, they will need to find a new business model, period. The times are achangin'
  • by SamP2 (1097897) on Monday December 24, 2007 @01:58PM (#21808272)
    It's funny to see someone bothering to repute claims that Craigslist "kills" newspapers. The question is not whether it does or doesn't (and IMO it does in a way), but why should we care?

    It's a free market out there. Craigslist is able to offer services better than newspapers. Newspapers should either adapt to compete, or they deserve to die. Why should there be some kind of welfare state for newspapers where they have to be supported externally, or even more important, why should better technologies be attacked for outcompeting worse ones?

    Do you attack cars for "killing" horse-and-carriage? Do you attack e-mail for reducing profits of snail mail/fax sales (and it did by a very large margin)? If the technology is able to better provide the service, it is the one that deserves to get the market.

    I understand that many people base the argument like that "Newspapers offer content we like, but can only be funded by ads. Now people use craigslist for ads instead of papers, so papers have no money to publish other content with". While this may seem more indirect, I don't see why this is any more valid than the earlier example. If people are not willing to pay for the content on its own (via newspaper sales), then maybe you should move out of the market, or actually make your content worthwhile.

    The "broadsheet" papers which actually offer content you don't see on a typical news site for free (such as in-depth editorials) are the ones that are still selling. If all your paper had is a bulletpoint list of recent events and a local buy-sell section, then why does it deserve to live in the first place, when you can get both free online (the first from any news site, the second from Craigslist). And if you claim your paper supposedly brings some value to the "good old mom-and-pop local community", then get the community to pay for it, either through a local tax the community agrees on, or through increased paper prices. If the community is not willing to pay either, than guess what, the value your paper provides to the community just isn't good enough for them to pay for.

    Either offer something that's good on its own (and better than the competition), or get the hell out of the business. The protectionist neoluddism of "papers being oppressed by the evil Craigslist" is seriously pissing me off.
    • by Vellmont (569020)

      It's a free market out there.

      No, it's NOT a free market, nor has it ever been. There's the Sherman anti-trust laws for one, and FCC restrictions on ownership of newspapers and television stations in the same market for another. We can argue about whether that's "good" or "bad", but the market sure as hell ain't free.

      Why should there be some kind of welfare state for newspapers where they have to be supported externally

      Huh? Who's proposing that? You I guess. It's pretty easy to knock down ideas that you
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Znork (31774)
        "No, it's NOT a free market, nor has it ever been."

        I think you need to re-read your Adam Smith.

        There are a lot of non-free qualities of the current market, but the two you mention are explicitly pro-free market regulations. The classic purpose of the free market as a concept is to encourage competition. To quote the Wealth of Nations:

        "The price of monopoly is upon every occasion the highest which can be got. The natural price, or the price of free competition, on the contrary, is the lowest which can be tak
    • That was a nice rant and all, but it was so completely off base that I'm not sure where to start. The comparison to cars taking over for horse and buggy transportation is absurd at best and an idiotic thing to bring up in this context. Newspapers don't exist (aside from free papers dedicated to car sales and whatnot) as printed trading posts. They exist to deliver news. This isn't one mode of transportation evolving because of technology, this is having a source of revenue taken away which supports the real
    • by bcrowell (177657)

      I understand that many people base the argument like that "Newspapers offer content we like, but can only be funded by ads. Now people use craigslist for ads instead of papers, so papers have no money to publish other content with". While this may seem more indirect, I don't see why this is any more valid than the earlier example. If people are not willing to pay for the content on its own (via newspaper sales), then maybe you should move out of the market, or actually make your content worthwhile.
      The da

    • Newspapers can go on being electronic. They can make a payment scheme where the first time users login every day, the amount of money that the actual newspaper costs is deducted from their account. In the end of the month, a 'newspaper' bill arrives that the user has to pay to continue their subscription.

      In this way, nothing will change economically (the customer will continue to pay whatever he used to), and the newspapers can go on and be more useful (faster news delivery, better interactivity).
  • High tech everywhere (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    but still people can't tell the possessive ITS from the contraction IT'S==IT IS.
    • Yea, I don't get it. It's simple to distinguish "its" and "it's" as it's merely a matter of expanding "it's" into its full meaning. Then you see "its" is not "it is" as it isn't supposed to be expaned as "it's" is. "It's" does of course expand to "it is" so its usage is as "it is" and not as a possesive "it", as it isn't "it"'s meaning.
    • Perhaps you are mistaking the lack of a well-made, intuitive writing system for a lack of intelligence in the populace.
  • Newspapers still have a virtual monopoly on one aspect of newsmaking: digging deep, traveling, researching, and fact-checking. Unfortunately, MOST newspapers are just regurgitators of whatever the AP or other news-wires spend big bucks to write. The days of the old traveling reporter seem to be short, but there are still a few out there who really work hard to get the news.

    The Internet, on the other hand, is still a beacon of opinion, without much digging. Facts aren't checked (not that all mainstream press outlet do much of that), biases are obvious, and many bloggers just preach to the choir. That's an area that isn't likely to change.

    The big item of interest, though, is always financial: "Can I do this, and can I make money at it?" I think the obvious answer for almost all forms of media is: YES, and more of a yes than any time in the past. For two generations, musicians tended to only make money when they were corporately owned. Now, individual groups can make money just by promoting themselves and their tours online. The same is true with journalism, or even movie making. Heck, the Ron Paul girl has made five figures just taking her clothes off and promoting the candidate. Amazing. Soon, we'll see theatre and acting groups rendering their own sitcoms on YouTube for a small profit, but they still won't have the backend that the mainstream companies do: script-writers, fact-checkers, editors, sound people, crew, etc.

    I like the new age, because it does open up options for the individual to earn a living. I know quite a few people who now make almost 6-figures annual blogging (but they're working 50-60 hours a week on their sites!). I know more than one band who is making more than 6-figures annual with no record label contract. I know a graphic designer or two who are making a decent living by drawing cartoon characters for individual companies, churches and organizations and not having to "slave" 40 hours a week for Disney or another employer.

    I do think the classifieds HAVE to go away, but I don't think Craigslist is necessarily the answer or the final option. The web will likely move to a more object-oriented fashion, rather than purely single HTML endlinks. I've always theorized that particular web pages will be broken down to segments of information, designated with content variables ("tags"), that will be easily integrated into the desktop sites of others. I know Microsoft tried this eons ago, and it failed, but the web wasn't ready.

    Why should I post an ad to craiglist for a 2001 Toro lawnmower for sale in zip code 60031, when I can just pop in an object into my MySpace, or my blog, or another site, signifying an object for-sale, the price, the zip code, etc, and allow Google or other search engines to point interested buyers to that particular object? Maybe we'll have sites that integrate all those similar objects into a mash-up of information to utilize for other people's needs (like we're now seeing with websites that mash-up data from various non-similar sites of data).

    The answer in the long-run is not another market or company that takes over information disperal, but the individualization of data in an object form for many individuals or organizations to provide for new markets to develop. A personal blog may be composed of 20 individual objects, all with their own tags, all distributable in their own singular nature to be re-displayed on various sites for whatever purpose.

    Methinks HTML is dying, fast. Even the Web 2.0 stuff seems to be ready for extinction. A new day, a new web, will really harm the Web 2.0 companies that are still focusing on the page, instead of breaking down the individual content within the page.
    • by corsec67 (627446)

      Newspapers still have a virtual monopoly on one aspect of newsmaking: digging deep, traveling, researching, and fact-checking.


      I call shenagains on that. Have you read any science or technology articles recently? Most reporters don't know much about any specilized fields, and couldn't be bothered to ask anyone who does actually know.
    • No. What's killing newspapers is not craigslist.

      It's the fact that they've been bought out by non-newsmen bean counters
      that see a newspaper as just another business rather than an end to itself.
      They have stopped "selling" news and are instead just selling ad space.

      The era of the "investigative reporter" are pretty much over. The
      typical newspaper story doesn't have any more inherent value than
      the average blog post. Everyone knows it. THIS is why newspapers
      are in danger of extinction. They have pretty much al
    • Mod parent insightful. Great post.

      I agree wholeheartedly. Craigslist is not the answer, it's just an electronic version of the old model. Less than the old model in fact. At least with a newspaper there's news or comics or some reason to view it every day. There's no reason to visit Craigslist unless you are looking for something.

      However, the fundamental problem with Craigslist is the scams, and their flagging system. I find it curious to see this article talk about how they are expanding into Europe
    • Yes, you can talk about how newspapers are dying because of bad reporting, but I think that it has more to do with the fact that people are less likely to be interested in the news.

      If you actually look at trends in news consumption, they've remained in a rather steady downward trend - even when you add in news consumption among ALL media. Which means that the Internet is taking another slice of an already shrinking pie for newspapers.

      There are a number of complicated and interrelated reasons for this.

      Let m
    • With regards to your object theory, Project Xanadu by Ted Nelson had that idea in 1960. :-)
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thaelon (250687) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:17PM (#21808454)
    So what if the Craigslist IS killing the newspaper industry? I don't see anyone getting up in arms about the automobile killing the horse drawn carriage industry.

    Times change. Business models face extinction just as species do.
  • Henry Ford denies that the mass produced automobile is killing the buggy whip industry. He says that lack of innovation and bloat is causing the industry to expire. To quote "If buggy whip makers would cater to the niche needs of their customers, and sell at a reasonable price, the manufacturers would have no trouble selling to the ever growing modern horse driven buggy market."
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:35PM (#21808598)
    Reporters. I watched the local paper, the St. Louis Post Distpatch, go steadily down hill over the past few years. Every year it got thinner and thinner to the point where all it was good for was the local sports report. Last year, my father dropped his subscription. Especially when he finally got high speed internet and realized the articles he wanted was on their website STLToday.

    All the paper consisted of was were wire reports. Usually the exact same content I had read via Yahoo or Cnn.com the day before. There was very little local investigative journalism. They did a 5-part expose on the local fire districts and some stuff that was going on there with the wives of firefighters being elected to boards/etc. Back in 2005. But not much since.

    I forget the lady's name (The old woman in front row of the White House daily briefings (Helen something). She wrote a book about this topic a few years ago and she pointed out that it was this lack of in depth local news reporting was the major reason why newspapers were loosing so much readership. Her reason is that hiring investigative reports and having a real news room is expensive. So in order to boost short term profits....

    This boils down to one thing: Content. You have good content, people will come. It doesn't matter if that is on the web or in print.

    • (The old woman in front row of the White House daily briefings (Helen something)
      Helen Thomas. Wiki [wikipedia.org] and Google [google.com].

      The fact I know her name is proof that I have no life. :(
    • I was Waiting for sombody to say this! it's the lack of content to maintain grossly high profit margins that is killing the papers. I have seen a rapid growth of papers that focus ONLY on the local news and editorials on national events. They now as well, as everybody else, your reading CNN about floods in china, it's the stuff you can't find, like wine tastings, rock concerts, and D.A. coruption where the monyes at tomarrow, and the media be it blogs or paper isn't the deal breacker. It's selling people in
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Monday December 24, 2007 @02:55PM (#21808738)
    for their own downfall.

    Radio has been killed by ClearChannel's near total monopoly of the airwaves. Yes, they no longer have competition in radio, but they've ended the diversity held the audience's attention, and pushed commercials up to the point where you have to wade through 10 minutes of used-car ads to get to the 4 minutes of bland commercial pop.

    Newspapers, meanwhile, stopped doing real journalism 15 years ago. It's much easier to pay a fee for AP articles and an editor to arrange them on a page around ad space than to keep on a staff of journalists doing in-depth investigative pieces; heck, it's even cheaper to change a couple words in the press releases companies send to newspapers these days and print them verbatim than to license AP articles--that's what more and more "news" outlets are doing these days.

    TV, well, reality programs are boring, and commercials are annoying, and the few programs worth watching are in endless re-runs thanks to the writer's strike; or, the movies they run on cable are just promotional vehicles for the sequels that are coincidentally debuting next Friday.

    Movies and music. /. readers know that story so I won't regurgitate it.

    In short, greed, corporatism (is that redundant with greed?), and focus group-tested pap that the old media have pumped out in the last decade to maximize profits has alienated the audience. Craigslist and other segments of the Internet are simply doing a better job of taking over the few useful activities the old used to perform, but without all the baggage.

    Everyone on /. knows this. The interesting thing will be to observe what happens when Craigslist and its cohorts sell out to the same corporate interests for the big score and start degrading the content. Will new challengers spring up online to steal their lunch in the same manner?
    • by RobBebop (947356)

      The interesting thing will be to observe what happens when Craigslist and its cohorts sell out to the same corporate interests for the big score and start degrading the content.

      Craigslist won't sell out. Wikimedia won't sell out. SourceForge (who run *this* site) won't sell out. Each of these knows that freedom is more important than the pursuit of the holy dollar.

      Meanwhile, Facebook and MySpace have sold out.

      Thus, your negative attitude towards Craigslist is misguided. Believe me, the site could have sold out years ago but it hasn't. All you need to do it turn your browser to the social networking sites to see what happens when good ideas turn bad.

      Meanwhile... to the

  • Just earlier today I was thinking wtf are the editors doing missing obvious mistakes in that math article but I don't get what the furore is here. It's supposed to be "it's" in the summary not its! How the hell did this even get tagged "its" ? Note: Quotation marks used for clarity instead of '.
    • "it's growth over the years" should be its.
    • by gwoodrow (753388)
      Actually, I think the summary is wrong.

      "Computerworld has an interview with Craig Newmark about the history of Craigslist and it's growth over the years"

      =

      "Computerworld has an interview with Craig Newmark about the history of Craigslist and it is growth over the years"

      I'm not normally a grammar nazi, but if someone's going to openly defend the error I just can't resist. It's (as in it is) a weakness.
    • Wow, don't know how I misread that so badly and the wrong it's also. I was going for "(its now expanding into foreign-language markets" but read as something like "( with its now expanding into 'foreign-language markets' strategy" My bad.
  • i just hope the cost of bird cage liner does not go up...
    • by Randwulf (997659)
      How about saying, "You can't wrap fish in Craigslist." :-)
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      I haven't read a newspaper in ages, yet I still use newsprint from time to time, like for starting fires. Where do I get it? Junk mail. I receive huge volumes of newsprint-like junk mail every week from local advertisers. If I ever need crappy paper for things like lining bird cages, I have a ready supply whether I want it or not.

      I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this. Doesn't everyone else get tons of junk mail?
  • by bonaldi (90129) on Monday December 24, 2007 @03:11PM (#21808850)
    There are a lot of people pretty chuffed with their horse-and-carriage-beaten-by-car analogy; nobody seems to notice that the replacement isn't better, it's *worse*. As a newspaper, Craiglist sucks. But it has taken over one of the key ways newspapers make money.

    It's not a straightforward "outdated business model" this: the model's been outdated since the radio came along. Nobody needs to buy news: we're drowning in free news. But we do need to live in a society where politicians and the powerful are held to account, where corruption is exposed and so on. The best way we've seen so far for doing this is investigative journalism, which isn't cheap. In fact, journalism is incredibly expensive to create. There isn't a single newspaper website out there that can afford to pay for the cost of its journalism by itself; they rely on subsidy from their print operations.

    A Free Press isn't free. It has just been our luck that newspapers could make enough money from small ads to pay for all the journalists without actually having to try and sell us the unsellable (news). That luck is running out.
    • by Ckwop (707653)

      There are a lot of people pretty chuffed with their horse-and-carriage-beaten-by-car analogy; nobody seems to notice that the replacement isn't better, it's *worse*. As a newspaper, Craiglist sucks. But it has taken over one of the key ways newspapers make money.

      This is an fallacy similar to the mistake people make with evolution where they say that a wolf, because it larger and more complex, is more evolved than a beetle. The beetle is just as adapted to its environment as the wolf. All that matters in

  • LOL, he blames Auto Trader, but Craigslist has already killed the private listings in Auto Trader.
    • by KillerBob (217953)
      So... Auto Trader killed Newspaper, and Craig's List killed Auto Trader. duh! :-P
      • by Lije Baley (88936)
        Hardly, Auto Trader was too damned expensive to be competition for the newspapers. The newspaper classifieds were getting beaten up by the "Nickel Ad" free papers. Ebay came along and threatened them all, but it was Craiglist really laid the smackdown. But we're just talking about the classifieds anyway, which is only a small part of why newspapers are dying.
  • Traditional mass media is obsolete. Were the internet a simple issue of distribution, then, newspapers would simply be the same thing, but cheaper. What's happened is that people are interested in their own niches of information, and mass media simply can't get its head around it. All of the sifting through events that reporters and editors used to do, the internet makes pointless. Because there is essentially infinite bandwidth, you don't need someone to decide what news is worth actually distributing.
  • The articles is absolutely correct when it states newspapers are killing themselves, which is why I left 4 years ago. Publishers know that the profit margins of old are long gone, however their response to that is what is causing it's greatest harm - an insatiable appetite to reduce expenses...rather than an expansion into other services to grow revenue. Newspaper publishers and owners are the most pessimistic people on the planet. Their favorite, and most often decision-making process is the "decision to
  • People have been saying the same thing about printed books for year, but it hasn't come to pass.

    The thing is, most of the people who say these things are the highly connected tech savvy who generally socialize with their own kind. The rest of the population is perfectly happy with newspapers.

    The main problem with newspapers is than like most businesses these days, ,i.their stockholders / owners demand exponential profit growth. It's not the medium that is unsustainable, it's the profit model they insist

    • ...most of the people who say these things are the highly connected tech savvy who generally socialize with their own kind. The rest of the population is perfectly happy with newspapers...

      That sums up what I have seen. The tech savvy get their news from the web. The rest of the world continues to rely on print media.

      I cancelled Monday to Saturday newspaper service because there is almost no original news in the newspaper (Los Angeles Times). The news that is printed is a refactoring of wire service (AP
  • ...not "it's" when you're showing possession. For example "It's Christmas Eve!" as opposed to something like "Christmas Eve is here in all its glory".
  • News flash! News media goes to hell! News at 11! Film at 12!
  • Save a tree. Read your news online.
  • It seems as though the AP has had its role in killing newspapers as well. If your newspaper buys and reprints stories from the AP, it's equivalent to outsourcing your hard-hitting, incisive, investigative journalism. I read a long time ago in a post here that AP stories without name attribution aren't very well researched. If they were quality stories, people wouldn't mind putting their names to them. So it seems to me that if you're looking for investigative journalists and reading AP stories, look for
  • The last good reason to keep newspapers around is that the news can't be revised. Once it goes to print, that's it. You can't go back and say "Oh, we never said invading Iraq was about WMD. It was about installing democracy. Oh we never said it was about installing democracy. It was about bringing the war to the terrorists. Oh, we never said that...
  • ...and websites == a la carte

    Bundled cable channels force people to pay for channels that they don't want, in order to get the few channels they do want. Under the a la carte system, people pay only for what they're interested in, and the low-interest channels die a natural death.

    Newspapers bundle local news, national news, world news, sports, stock market info, classified ads, comics, crossword puzzles, etc, etc. They charge a humoungous markup on their classified ads, and use that excess revenue to pay
  • Really what the effect Craigslist is having is on the free Weeklies. These papers are free, and exist on print ad and classified ad revenues. These papers are often times the only reliable and trustworthy source of independent information in any given market. I live here in Idaho and I am an avid reader of Boise Weekly. Before that I read Willamette Weekly in Oregon. I've noticed that the weeklies have taken a few shots at craigslist over the years, but nothing serious, more voicing of concerns than anythin

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