Look, there’s been some reasonably good news for newspaper companies lately, at least on the circulation side. They are indeed turning to paywalls in ever-greater numbers, and we think that’s a good thing, and that the arguments against them are mostly faith-based.

Digital subscription rates are rising, as Press Plus has documented among its clients:

But that doesn’t help much if companies can’t offer their product on devices that readers are turning to.

The fact is, mobile is the opportunity that papers have been waiting for. The PC—the bolt-upright, lean-forward experience—was never a good technology for journalism and was always going to be transitional. And laptops are only slightly better. The industry has waited a long time for something better to come along.

Now it has. Time to get cracking.

It’s true that newspaper companies have a much bigger job than startups—to transform what are essentially industrial operations into technology companies. And it’s easy to pick on them.

On the other hand, they have zero choice in the matter.


Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.