'In 18 months, 80 percent of newspapers....gone'

Dateline: Wed 22 Apr 2009

Media critic Michael Wolff -- who heads a website called Newser and often writes for Vanity Fair about newspaers et al -- predicted Monday in a panel discussion with the heads of Craigslist and Air America that 80 percent of all newspapers will be toast in 18 months.

Here is what PaidContent.org said about the panel discussion:

"As many before him have done, Wolff pinned the cause of newspapers' impending death on CraigsList, which took away newspapers' auto, jobs and real estate ads.

(Craig) Newmark (Craigslist founder) shook his head at that, saying that newspapers did not fulfill the public's trust.

"They failed on that weapons of mass destruction thing. And they failed on that financial collapse thing," he protested.

Wolff: "CraigsList did it by taking away the ads. And they did it for good or bad, I would say for the better. They distribute ads more efficiently. But that's what supported newspapers for 100 years. People don't want to pay for content. And you could argue newspapers haven't done their jobs. But that's separate from the real story. They were supported by those three legs and they have gone to Craig's List. 18 months from now, 80 percent of newspapers will be gone. "

Wolff forecast, as have others, that the Washington Post will survive, simply because it is supported by revenue streams that are not newspaper-related (Kaplan's Testing Services.)

Thanks to buddy Tom Henderson for finding this nugget and shipping it our way.

As one of the young graphic designers said about her future at the Star, "I don't expect to retire here."

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