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.