|Head of Journalism Foundation Says Newspapers Need to
Reinvent Themselves in Digital Age
BY LARRY TEITELBAUM AND EDWARD N. EISEN
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While Penn Law’s Ed Baker agrees
that online communications are broadening
the parameters of free speech, he
questions the lack of quality control. “It’s
like going up to the first 50 people you
see on the street and asking, ‘What’s the
news today?’ You would just get a lot of
conversation, and maybe a lot of ideas.
My concern is, Will there be enough Web
sites with the resources to do full-time
Indeed, newspapers will need to generate
revenue to support these new forms.
And up to now, publishers have not been
able to turn their Web sites into cash
cows. According to the Newspaper Association
of America, readership is growing
but advertisers have stayed away, fearing
that online readers have shorter attention
spans than print readers. As a result, web
ads command far lower rates than print.
Bottom line: newspapers are getting only
six percent of their ad income from their
Web sites. And while experts expect those
revenues to climb, as aging print readers
are replaced by younger online readers,
most feel it will take until 2020 to reap
the Internet harvest.