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A brief kudo to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, whose online site stands accused of robbing newspapers of their most precious form of revenue — classified ads.

A San Francisco Chronicle story says his Craiglist site (operating as 105 sites in 21 countries) took $50 million to $60 million from San Fran papers alone.

Six years ago, the story says, “Intel Corp. co- founder Andrew Grove stood before a roomful of newspaper executives at the Fairmont Hotel and warned them that their business needed to adapt to the Internet or face death.”

Those same publishers are back, meeting at the National Newspaper Association conference — and the problem’s worsened. Hench the blame piled on Buckmaster’s Craigslist. He thinks, though, that has more aggressively targeted newspapers’ classifieds.

But Buckmaster pins the tail on the appropriate donkey: “Newspapers are cutting their investment in reporting. They’re running more Associated Press wire stories and increasing the percentage of the product they devote to advertising,” alienating readers. “But it’s much easier to point the finger at a site like Craigslist,” Buckmaster said.

Add to this the recent newspaper employment figures from ASNE: journalists in daily print newsrooms are down 2,000 jobs since 2001. That means fewer reporters available to produce better content.

Readers want better content. And they’ll go to whomever or whatever offers them the content they need and the content they want.

If newspapers don’t wake up to that reality, then …. Well, you fill in the dots here, people.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

April 19, 2005 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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