1. Find sand. 2. Dig hole. 3. Insert head

1. Find sand. 2. Dig hole. 3. Insert head

: Tim Porter reports a chilling moment from the American Society of Newspaper Editors meeting in Washington. In the one hour devoted to the future of newspapers (well, apart from Rupert’s future-shock-therapy):

One of the most telling moments of the hour occurred just as the meeting opened when Nachison and Peskin put a slide up of Craig Newmark and asked how many people in the room of several hundred recognized him or his name. Only a smattering of hands rose. A few more hands went up at the mention of Craigslist and its free classifieds.

Nachison reminded the editors that the competition of Craigslist didnít grow out of a business model, but arose more spontaneously from Newmarkís desire to create a community of trust ñ the same trust newspapers are struggling to regain.

Newmark ìdoesnít seem himself as competition,î said Nachison. ìHe started to build trust and to build community. He doesnít see himself as competing against newspapers.î

It’s doubly frightening that these journalists aren’t journalistically curious about the phenomenon of Craigs List and its impact on their communities and that they aren’t vitally interested in its impact on their businesses.

: Andrew Nachison, who with the Media Center is one of the people who is really pushing newspapers to think about the future, adds in the comments:

The bigger point was trust – and that there’s someone “out there” who has built a business at the expense of newspapers not by trying to compete *against* anyone, but by trying to help others.

The business followed Craig’s authentic devotion to helping people find each other in a trusted environment.

We contrasted this with the recent Carnegie Corporation survey data that found just 4 percent of Americans age 18-34 trust newspapers.

My message to editors is not that they need to fully appreciate every nuance of how their traditional business is crumbling. It’s that they need to appreciate how people’s lives and their relationships to media in all forms are changing, and that trust isn’t a slogan, it’s earned.

Journalists who seek to build a trust relationship with ordinary people need to pay attention to ordinary people and how they live their lives. The imperative is not to save the ship, save the business – it’s to serve society, create a better world. Seriously. Trust, and the business, will follow.

Don’t worry about competing against Craig. Think of something else, something new. Be the next Craig.