The glass is one-third full

Mark Glaser is doing one of his periodic “round up of opinions” post (great way to get two posts for the price of one idea, eh, Mark?). He wants to know, do we think the glass is half-full or half-empty.

It’s been said that I’m a half-full kind of guy, and put in pretty good company in that regard.

But I think I want to fudge here and say, I think it’s one-third full.

I’m pretty optimistic, and optimism defines how I run the business side of my life, but I’m full of empathy for the half-empty crowd, even as I bemoan their cranky-old-journalist whines.

The fact is, while there are bucket loads of reasons to be optimistic, nobody has yet proven how we win.

There are still lots of scary trends.

  • Circulation is declining
  • Revenue is declining
  • Disruptors abound and breed like flees
  • Every day, we read about more layoffs

On the other hand:

  • Online does extend our reach and overall audience trends point upward
  • Online gives us a chance to be the disruptor (think yellow pages and video)
  • Revenue is growing rapidly online (though not fast enough) and new revenue models continue to emerge
  • We bring many strengths to the table in community standing, journalistic experience and resources, and talent and drive

While no newspaper.com has won yet, I think if you could aggregate all of the winning plays in the newspaper.com game, you would have one hell of a good news/community site, and I believe it would score big time in audience growth and revenue. To me, the game plan is there, it just hasn’t been executed right.

The big question is will enough of us execute it soon enough? We really don’t know how much time we have before the final buzzer. If we don’t get our act together quickly, we may find ourselves on the sidelines.

To me, that’s the real danger, and why I say, “one-third full.”

But at my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near

Andrew Marvell

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