Fitted for a coffin

The news for newspapers keeps getting worse. The Wall Street Journal:

The downturn in the newspaper industry is getting worse. . . .

“Right now, you’ve got a perfect storm,” says Edward Atorino, an analyst with financial broker Benchmark Co. He predicts total ad revenue will fall 4.3% this year. The decline will be one of the steepest in history.

No surprises here anymore. But the real bad news is that we don’t yet see bold strategies for shifting fully into the leaner, meaner, faster, funner future. Jon Fine tried to push the San Francisco Chronicle into just stopping its presses and I agree that’s the way to think. I’ve said for sometime that papers just imagine not being papers anymore — and fast.

Kenny riffed off something I said earlier about journalism being a service as opposed to a product and found cause for optimism:

While the distinction may seem semantic, I think the industry’s mistaken impression of itself underlies its fear and loathing of readers’ migration online.

As a product, newspapers are doomed — and their demise is coming a lot faster than many of us realize. But as a service, journalism and the journalism business have unprecedented opportunity. The sooner journalists start thinking of their business as a service, the better equipped they’ll be for the changes ahead.