IDEA09: Urban Renewal or Neighborhood Destruction?

by Luke Wroblewski September 18, 2009

Mary Newsom's presentation The Information Superhighway: Urban Renewal or Neighborhood Destruction? at IDEA09 in Toronto, lamented the decline of local newspapers and the impact of this loss on city culture.

  • Newspaper industry is a ship in the ocean, taking on water, and its uncertain if it can be saved.
  • Mass media is splintering. Circulation has been declining over decades. Not hard to imagine what happens if newspapers and TV goes away.
  • Advertising was 80% of revenue for newspapers and 30-40% were from classifieds.
  • Newspapers moved all content online because they assumed that online revenue would support content.
  • Newspapers did not understand classified ads were an interaction between people. They thought they were selling space cause that’s what their sales people did.
  • Online advertising for newspaper industry was less than 10% last year
  • Newspaper reporters cover an event, writes a story, and it gets replayed across media. Every reporter wakes up one day to hear their story being read on TV.
  • Newspapers had 100+ reporters, local TV station has 10+ Newspapers do best investigative journalism.
  • The big sort: why like-minded social circles are causing issues in America. Perhaps something similar is happening in online social circles and tools. People share ideas with those who agree with them.
  • May move into blog strucutres by democratizing journalism. Having more people comment and poke around makes things healthier.
  • Country is made up of city and local economies. People are dependent on city for economic benefit (50% of people live in cities)
  • Cities have cultures and cultures matter.