The last presses: Now Donald Graham joins in

Well, just as I write that American publishers aren’t facing the reality of life after presses, Donald Graham of the Washington Post starts to sing a new tune:

Washington Post chairman Don Graham said publicly for the first time this week that the future of news is on the Internet, not in print newspapers like the Washington Post.

“The Web site simply has to come through, ours and that of other newspapers, for us to be successful,” Graham told investment analysts Wednesday in New York.

Graham delivered the keynote address for UBS Bank’s annual Global Media Conference. His speech focused on how the Internet is dramatically changing the way he runs his company.

“Our Web competitors, Google in particular, are coming up with clever new products which are designed to make our life harder,” Graham said. “Young readers are less inclined to read us than I would have guessed.”

After detailing the strengths that print journalism still holds–chief among them the effectiveness of print advertising–Graham acknowledged that the Internet can do some things better.

“The business is changing faster than I expected,” Graham said. As an example, he offered the Post’s coverage of Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

[Hat tip: Jay]

My Media Guardian column Monday will be a version of the Last Presses post; I’ll link to that when it’s up.

  • Heh… Mr. Graham either completely misses the point, or has border-line personality disorder when he says “Our Web competitors, Google in particular, are coming up with clever new products which are designed to make our life harder,.” What make him think that the Washington Post is even on Google’s radar screen? Google (and everyone else who has a brain) is looking for ways to attract customers and make the utility of their information as high as possible. By asserting that Google is making products design to make the WaPo’s job harder he places himself and his publication in te role of some kind of victim, rather than that of an newspaper thats is trying to innovate and find new ways to address reporting and the delivery of that reporting to people who may be interested in what the Post has to say…

  • Mashrout

    Even if WaPo is not on Google’s radar, it doesn’t
    mean Google is not a competitor.

    Basic Business: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

    Whether Google’s products are designed with WaPo in mind,
    they may be designed to surpass traditional approaches.

    Kudos for Mr. Graham for rising to the occasion. This is
    not playing the victim, this is realizing that the company
    must adapt to changing times or become a victim.

  • Anybody seen the full transcript of his talk?

  • Rick: I wanted that, too, but couldn’t find it; it’s not on the Post corporate site.

  • Dean A. Nash

    Message to traditional media: Thank you and GOODBYE!

    The democratization that the web has brought to news (threatening both newspapers and Television) and opinion – with blogs for everyone – far outweighs what it has done to business.

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