What's hurting newspapers

The Rogue Columnist blog has a thought-provoking entry on reasons that the newspaper industry is reeling and teetering — it's not just "the Internet exists," but rather a set of things the industry did wrong, continues to do wrong, and should fix if the newspapers are to emerge from the net with still-beating hearts:

The biggest problem, of course, had nothing to do with the newsrooms. It was the collapse of an unsustainable business model. Simply put, the model involved sending miniskirted saleswomen out to sell ads at confiscatory rates to lecherous old car dealers and appliance-store owners. Protecting these profits, whether from national, local or classified ads, became the central focus of newspaper bosses. These areas were the most vulnerable to new competitors. But the condition of the industry by the 1990s – risk averse, promising unrealistic margins, losing its best talent, ignoring ideas outside its preconceived notions – left it unable to meet these threats.


(via Making Light)