Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My past is the model for the future, according to the Atlantic

I was looking at the blog of my friend and fellow B2B blogger David Shaw, and saw a post that links to an interesting article in the Atlantic about the future of newspapers. That article's author, Michael Hirschorn, offers "a modest proposal for reinventing newspapers for the digital age."

There's nothing shockingly new in Hirschorn's piece, but it is well-written and it's not defensive. And those two characteristics make it far superior to much of what the print world has written about the Web world.

But my favorite part of Hirschorn's essay is when he suggests there is already a model for the new style of newspaper site he envisions: "In fact, there’s a rough model for this emerging already: it’s called, a desperately unglamorous site that features hundreds of freelancers who can tailor their part of the site to the needs and desires of their users. The (New York) Times bought it last year for $410 million, and it is currently the company’s primary growth area."
Longtime readers of this blog know that I was once a producer at About and later an executive at the company that bought it, Primedia. And my job involved overseeing all the B2B sites in the About network. And as I said in a comment to David's post, "even back then we knew we were on to something. And yep, even back then we knew we were "desperately unglamorous."

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