In 1999 Intel Chair Andy Grove told members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors that the Web could obliterate their business. He offered them a choice: Change or go under.
The $57 billion dollar industry didn’t change. Circulation has dropped 30% since 1985. Profits are diminishing along with stock prices and jobs. Knight Ridder and the Tribune Company have been sold off. It appears change is simply not in newspapers’ genetic code.
Or is it?
Tom Callinan, a former editor at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, took night courses at RIT while on the job. Two years later he emerged with a masters in new media. He didn’t let it collect dust. He planned to roll it up tight and hit the newspaper business upside the head. In January 2007, he helped create cincymoms.com, an offshoot of the Cincinnati Enquirer, where Callinan had taken a new position. Cincymoms.com is, as you might guess, a forum for moms – a demographic once critical to newspapers that had long ago fallen off track.
The site gets tens of thousands of views a day. Ad revenue is projected to double its first year projection. More than half the advertisers are new to the Enquirer but they only want web placement. What does that tell you?
It tells me change has a new poster boy. Thirty nine new mom sites will be up and running by summer’s end throughout the Gannett chain.
Any poster boys in real estate?
I know plenty of Dad’s that buy real estate.
Someone could build a forum for us.