John Temple and the Forecast of Doom

Maybe you have to get out of the newspaper business to get the proper perspective on everything that's wrong with it. Or maybe John Temple knew all along, but just couldn't push the boulder far enough up the hill as president and editor of the Rocky Mountain News. 

Either way, four months after the death of his newspaper, Temple has become one of the clearest-eyed observers of the industry. In an echo of the splendid frustration earlier this week from Dan at the Xark blog and a similar screed from venture capitalist John Thornton, Temple is unsparing in his comments about the recent meeting of newspaper execs in Chicago and the API's feeble set of recommendations to those executives. 

I'll sum up what these three thinkers, and others of us, are saying: The industry, and its leaders, after years of incredible strategic errors and miscalculations, have now set a course to sail straight off the edge of the cliff. The mistakes that are being made in meetings like the one in Chicago, or proposed by the API report, will be the final nail in the newspaper business' coffin. It's that simple.

3 thoughts on “John Temple and the Forecast of Doom

  1. Thanks for passing along the Temple comments, Mark. Truly outstanding stuff; it’s nice to hear journalism voices who are starting to actually get it. My own immediate reaction to the API white paper can be summed up in the word “pathetic.”
    On the other hand, I tend to disagree with Temple’s notion that it’s not possible to compete Craigslist. As a database driven system, CL is not perfect and can be outdone at a technical level. The same goes for the dominance of the MLS database in Real Estate. That CL and MLS are not challenged is probably because most publishers have not a clue about how databases work.

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  2. Perry: Trying to compete with craigslist at this point is roughly like trying to boil the ocean. Classifieds is a critical-mass game, and craigslist has successfully won over that critical audience of buyers and sellers. More importantly, craigslist is (mostly) free and incredibly easy to use–something that can’t be said of newspaper online classifieds, for the most part. There’s really no point in newspapers trying to retake classifieds unless they can make money at it, and “free” ain’t a moneymaker.

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