Scott Ellis 9:46 p.m., April 22
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.