The Future is, not LA Times the Paper

Last week, LA Times editor Russ Stanton was quoted telling a forum at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications:

“I think big-city newspapers, the way we have known them, are not long for this world, as they’re now configured.”

Over the weekend, John Jarvis on Huffington Post glommed onto another quote by Stanton:

“(The)Times’ Web site revenue now exceeds its editorial payroll costs.”

And after some confirming emails with LA Times management, Jarvis concludes that the Times can conceivably survive on Web revenues alone. If true, during the Tribune Company’s bankruptcy restructuring, Jarvis advises to cut out the costly print production and distribution business and make LA Times a pure online news play. Then,

  1. Expand the journalistic reach of the newpaper into the community by including bloggers and other forms of citizen journalism.
  2. Have each major city newspaper cooperatively act as the local news hub and syndicate its local news nationally to the other newspapers. This would allow newspapers to dispense with national (Washington, New York) correspondents.
  3. News becomes a network of links made by those who do what they do best and link to the rest.

On Twitter, the LATimes, with their social media director @LATimesNystrom, has pursued a more social strategy to interact with other Twitterers, unlike the one-way Twitter broadcast policy used by CNN and the NYTimes. Since most Twitterers are also bloggers, the LA Times positions itself as social media friendly for the future recruitment of bloggers as potential journalistic content sources.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email

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