Newspapers challenged by legacy operations

Smart column from Diane Mermigas on the Hollywood Reporter about the challenges facing the newspaper business.  It opens with:

Consensus was voiced last week by leading executives from companies on the media spectrum as far flung as Google and Tribune Co. that the survival of newspapers depends on their ability to reinvent themselves online with new business models, the creation and execution of which continue to be lacking.

Behind last week’s heady public remarks about the fate of what is perhaps the media world’s most underestimated and challenged platform — delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as well as the Los Angeles Times newsroom — is the brutal reality that these traditional companies must undergo the costly process of dismantling and replacing legacy operations and business models with those completely new and untried. They face greater, fatal risks if they do not.

I know a lot of newspaper executives — I think at least one at every major newspaper company. These are people who by-and-large get it. Smart people who want to do the right things for the right reasons. I think we (as an industry) can figure out the models and get things right, but there are still more people in the industry fighting against change — there are even people in so-called new media operations fighting to protect old practices and old ways of thinking.  That’s the scary part.

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