SF Chronicle's Stages Of Google Grief Lead To Suggestion For Google To Just Buy Newspapers

from the follow-the-discussion dept

First off, before someone brings it up in the comments, I'll point out that the following post refers to the views of various columnists at the SF Chronicle, rather than any sort of discussion among those who have any real impact on the SF Chronicle's strategy. However, it is quite amusing to see the "stages of Google grief" showing up on the editorial pages of the struggling San Francisco newspaper who has had to rid itself of hundreds of reporters lately. Back in March, columnist David Lazarus (who apparently is no longer at the paper) vented his frustration about the internet by suggesting that newspapers get rid of free content entirely, with the goal of blocking off so-called moochers like Google News (despite the fact that, yes, Google News actually sends the Chronicle more readers). Then, in May came the bizarre suggestion on the SF Chron editorial pages that Google had a social or moral obligation to simply hand money over to newspapers. That got lots of people laughing, so now, yet another columnist at the Chron has adjusted the thinking to suggest that rather than just hand over money, Google should buy some newspapers, but then just leave them alone, noting that Google would probably make for a better newspaper boss than Rupert Murdoch. This seems to be sort of the full circle Google of thinking here. First, denial that Google is an opportunity to actually drive more business to newspapers. Then, anger at Google and a plan to block it off. Then there's the bargaining/begging phase where they suggest Google simply owes them money. Next comes depression (represented by all the layoffs) and finally acceptance that Google as a buyer could be the savior for newspapers.
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Filed Under: newspapers, search engines
Companies: google, sf chronicle

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  1. identicon
    matt m, 17 Aug 2007 @ 6:44am

    Nought to do with Google

    Why do newspapers assume Google is somehow taking readers from them online? The real issue is that once they go online, they are competing against the whole world to report on a story.

    When they throw some dead trees into your driveway there is very little competition for getting advertising in front of people that they will actually pick up and look at. But I can read 90% of the national and world coverage they offer elsewhere- at places like CNN that have video of what they can only tell me about secondhand. However, the Chronicle is probably the best paper focusing on their region, better than any national news source, so they should focus on being the leaders for any story that pops up in that area, and when that story is of national or international interest, they should be the ones using news aggregators to get that content out there.

    What local newspapers need to do is become more local. How many national newspapers do we need? It's an economic inefficiency that is rightly being reduced. They are trying to be an aggregator and a local news source. That seems like a confused business model for a web site, even though it happens to make sense for dropping a physical paper at your door.

    Anyway, relating this Google is just because they are the easiest example to point to of people making money off of internet advertising, but I don't think a significant percentage of that comes from google news. There aren't even any ads on that page!! The real story here is that the content you need for a physical paper is not equivalent to what you need for a website.

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