Public Speaking

What would you say to the Newspaper Association of America?

Today, the Newspaper Association of America closes out its annual conference with a keynote speech from Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In advance of Schmidt’s address, others have been speculating about what they would say if given the chance to address the assembled news executives.

At BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis pulled no punches in a post titled “The speech the NAA should hear.” An excerpt:

You blew it.

You’ve had 20 years since the start of the web, 15 years since the creation of the browser and craigslist, a decade since the birth of blogs and Google to understand the changes in the media economy and the new behaviors of the next generation of - as you call them, Mr. Murdoch - net natives. You’ve had all that time to reinvent your products, services, and organizations for this new world, to take advantage of new opportunities and efficiencies, to retrain not only your staff but your readers and advertisers, to use the power of your megaphones while you still had it to build what would come next. But you didn’t.

You blew it.

Blogger Jason Fry was a bit more sanguine:

All is not lost. We have a business with a number of strengths that executives in more-nascent industries would kill for: a highly trained work force with skills that aren’t irreplaceable but are hard to duplicate; actual revenue and customers; a longstanding place in society that even doubters and grousers regard as critical; and an institutional history that’s woven through the larger history of our cities and towns.

The problem is we need to transfer those strengths from serving the crumbling model to the new one that’s being built experiment by experiment.

There’s clearly much more to be said when it comes to the future of newspapers. So we wonder: What would you say to the Newspaper Association of America if you had the chance? How would you respond to Jarvis and Fry?

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.