Friday, March 23, 2007

Rusbridger: no idea where industry is going

Alan RusbridgerAt the closing session of yesterday's Guardian Changing Media Symposium, editor Alan Rusbridger admitted he had absolutely no idea where the newspaper industry was going. He showed a graph with one line measuring plunging sales and another optimistic projection of massive increases in online readership and revenues. The industry's problem is how to make that projection happen. He also said that papers will have to cut costs by increasing the proportion of user-generated content on their sites. If the Guardian's commenters are any guide, much of this will not be worth the electrons it is printed on.

Rusbridger also had a sideswipe at the "hereditary" nature of the industry, asking whether the junior Murdochs, Barclays and O'Reillys will really be interested in taking over such risky businesses when their fathers retire — and whether the Times and Telegraph are already fading away.

I agree that the Times is fading fast, completing its drift mid-market with an atrocious website relaunch. I certainly don't want to read a garish, Web 0.7 version of the Daily Mail when there is so much better available elsewhere.

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