is the Root of Newspapers' Woes

by: Ashkan Karbasfrooshan

Genghis Khan, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and of course, Craig Newmark. That, my friends, is what newspapers (all right, not all, but some) would want you to believe.

I read this on Forbes and would have given anything to be a part of the audience when Craigslist’s CEO Jim Buckmaster essentially told off a room of analysts.

But then some further research landed me on this:

The Philadelphia Daily News’ Will Bunch blames the altruism of Craig Newmark for the loss of jobs in the newspaper industry:

The American newspaper is being assassinated by “a lone nut.”

And we’re going to tell you the name of that lone nut:

Craig Newmark of Craigslist — a man whose altruistic vision of running a business to NOT maximize profits is now threatening the livelyhood of thousands of working men and women across this country, your neighbors who work at and publish your local newspaper, jobs that were once supported by the classified ads that have migrated to the most free (or low-cost) Craigslist.

If you won’t charge customers for ads, and apparently you won’t, then at least start accepting those text ads, and funnel those millions of dollars into the newly formed Craig’s Foundation. And what will be the main benefactor of this new foundation? A scholarship fund, to pay for the college education of the dozens of displaced journalists across America losing their jobs everyday…And if there’s any cash left, how about building a retirement home for any newspaper folks who might somehow see a diminished pension down the road?

Maybe we’re delusional or brainwashed, but if newspapers got their act together, they would be killing in a) search revenue, b) local revenue and c) online advertising altogether. Instead, they blame one of the best services and genuinely nicest people in any sector of any industry I have ever heard about.

Sometimes I feel like helping out newspapers but when I read this crap from Bunch, it makes me want to see newspapers disappear. Of course, newspaper companies will never disappear, but their place in the media landscape will continue to shrink if they don’t get their act together.

In other words, Craigslist exists and is relevant because newspapers have been greedy or maintained their closed-mindedness.