Change in newspapers — upgrading, updating, inventing, innovating — should be celebrated, no matter what causes it. See the story of the Madison Capital Times shifting — “reluctantly,” says the NY Times copy editor — from print, 90 years after it was first printed, to the web. Bravo, I say. This is the kind of bold move the American newspaper industry should have made five years ago, when they easily could have foreseen this future. The public is online, the new means of gathering and sharing news is online, the medium is more efficient and cheaper to run, the old business model is shot. Why wait? Yes, I sympathize with the staffers who lost their jobs, just as I sympathize with those on other papers who’ve lost theirs because their managements have not been strategic and brave and have not retrained them (or to put the responsibility where it better belongs, they they haven’t retrained themselves). But every newspaper in America should be delighted this is happening and should be watching it closely to see what works and what doesn’t. I think Jay Rosen shares this view as he reports on the shift and gives good advice to the former paper’s editors:
* I know this isn’t how they’re thinking about it in Madison, but from my perspective Saturday marked the debut of a local newsblog and opinion site in Madison with an editorial staff of 40, and a web-to-print engine that is ready to start clicking. Those are basically good facts for the Cap Times. It’s up to the staff to bring journalistic imagination equal to them. . . .
* If I were Paul Fanlund, the editor of the Cap Times, I would set a first year goal of developing 400 solid contributors of news, expertise and opinion able to work with my 40 pros at headquarters, and I would calculate that to get the 400 I would need a to register about 4000 participants in various networked journalism projects.