Right hand, meet left hand

Right hand, meet left hand
: While Jack Fuller, president of things Tribune, was at the Online News confab lusting after, hoping for, praying to charge the audience for content online, the editor of his New York free paper — which is worth that price — is telling USA Today that soon all news will be free:

”Young people view news as a free commodity,” says Alex Storozynski, editor of the Tribune Co.’s 1-month-old a.m. New York. ”But you can’t get the Internet on a subway — and that’s where we come in.” …

Newspapers typically reap 80% of revenue from ads, 20% from circulation. It’s too soon to tell whether these new giveaways will prompt other established dailies to begin giving away their papers. Says Morton: ”This may be the beginning of that.”

Storozynski, a former editorial writer at New York’s Daily News, is more direct: ”The future is that people are not going to pay for newspapers anymore.”

: Speaking of ONA, Mary Hodder of UC Berkeley, has a bunch of good posts on the event.

The thing is, digital media disintermediates power. And all these people, nice, well educated, important, powerful people, media people, don’t want that to happen. Heck, people in power in every other kind of business don’t want it to happen either, and yet it is. So the conferences I’ve been to the last two weeks, none of which have offered anything I didn’t already know between all five of them, in various slices of the media business from micropayments to big media to social networks and media, to online news, have all had rooms full of people trying not to acknowledge the coming or present disintermediation of their own power. Yes, they acknowledge P2P or the many many digital media choices or blogs or Tivo or targeted ads or friendster (really all of these things are just tools/offerings, right, so if not these it would be something else in the digital realm) are things they need to embrace in order to move with the times, the Internet, the audience’s new found power.

: UPDATE: Staci Kramer has more on the confab at PaidContent, hinting at a blog backlash. (Well, actually, I don’t think the news industry can backlash against blogs until they try blogging and overdo it. So perhaps it’s not a backlash. Perhaps it’s just more of the same resistance.)