Ian Pike 4 p.m., March 9
Newspapers Should Go Totally Online, Says Writer for Business Week Magazine
"To stop the red ink, newspapers need to get rid of the ink altogether. It's high time for online-only operations." This is what Rick Wartzman, director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, wrote for Business Week Magazine this week. By getting rid of ink-and-paper editions, newspapers could shed current "tentative, halfway initiatives" on the web, he wrote. The editor of the LA Times told him that his organization could put out a profitable online-only edition with only 275 employees, 150 of whom would be in the newsroom. (There are currently 625 reporters and editors around the world, down from more than 1,000 a couple of years ago.) Wartzman concedes that with such a small staff, the Times would miss out on some important stories. The Times would be reluctant to take the step to all-online, because it would walk away from more than $500 million in print-ad revenue, said the editor. Ironically, Business Week itself should probably think of going 100 percent online. I wrote for the publication from 1964 to 1973 and read it regularly until the last six years, when I have looked at it only sporadically. I saw a copy last night (March 12) and was shocked: it is so thin that it is hard to imagine that it can be profitable.