2 thoughts on “Factory age news for the digital era

  1. Very interesting. I work for a newspaper that was recently bought by a …gulp… Venture Capital firm who is on a buying binge of community and small daily papers. I can’t figure out why they are buying these papers. Could this play into their long-term-plans?

    1. Hmm. Of course, for investors one of the appeals of buying small, monopoly newspapers is the prospect of cutting costs radically. Naturally, that means migrating circulation to the web (since paper, ink and distribution constitute roughly half of the traditional newspaper’s costs) and, as you suggest, it probably also means reducing newsroom outlays (maybe a quarter of old-style papers’ operating expenses.) I can’t imagine these new owners of yours haven’t looked at contracting out for at least the repetitive, clerical functions; how deep they want to cut into what we might call journalism is another matter. My guess is that a Journatic-type solution that combines automating with outsourcing, with very substantial cost savings, is something they’d be very interested in, especially if they’re looking at a 3-5 year turnaround and cash-out, as VC firms often are.

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