Saving the New York Times, Or Not.

Mike is correct to assert that many U.S. and international newspapers are structurally impaired and should simply disband but the debate in newspapers has shifted away from print vs. digital to one focused on digital monetization. The data is what it is, newspaper websites continue to grow traffic by double digits yet the incremental increases, or more recently seen decreases, simply can’t cover the physical costs of the news gathering operation. Turns out that it’s no different in the blogosphere as well and TechCrunch’s conference revenue is not an exception, it’s the rule for all of the major professionally produce tech blog operations.

So what can those top 50 writers learn from Arrington’s business model? Well, they’d better enjoy throwing conferences. Arrington said only 10 to 20 percent of of TechCrunch’s revenue comes from normal advertising on the website, while 50 percent comes from conferences. (Yes, I know these parts don’t add up to 100 percent.)

[From Michael Arrington’s plan to save The New York Times: The best writers should quit | VentureBeat]

I wrote about the 100 year flood that newspapers are facing and my conclusion, which I believe still holds, is that newspapers have to abandon their category and create something new that combines hyperlocal information services, create new advertising units, aggressively pursue syndication, and move into video as a natural compliment to text.

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Twitter Clicks

I’ve been tracking my link traffic with bit.ly (liking very much btw) and have noticed a couple of interesting patterns. These observations may form a basis for how twitter compliments bloggers and media in ways beyond simple promotion of posts.

When I post a link as a tweet, the link gets more traffic than when I blog it (as measured proportionally according to my twitter follower number and daily pageview traffic to my blog). The traffic is immediate and often quite profound, not uncommon that within 2-3 minutes of posting a link it is not uncommon to have between 40-60 clicks on it and within an hour can have several hundred if not more due to retweets (I have 1,600 followers, a lot but certainly not what someone like Pete Cashmore has, so I can only imagine the link deluge he can create).

Not surprisingly, the link traffic for a tweeted link is immediate and very distorted in that it falls off to zero within hours. Twitter is a medium that lives in the moment so anything that falls below the fold is gone forever for all practical purposes. On my blog, thanks to search tools predominately, a link can live on literally forever as search traffic finds discrete posts and continues to send traffic to linked items. Items posted to my blog can benefit substantially from services like StumbleUpon, and Twitter itself has risen in ranking in terms of traffic sources to where it is not uncommon to see Twitter drive incoming traffic to blog posts well beyond the useful life of the link itself.

What would I conclude from this? My primary learning is that Twitter is indeed useful as a microblogging service that people are using to discover information. This is not a zero sum game between Twitter and blogs, the two compliment each other nicely provided the author uses each according to their unique capabilities. Bloggers that are using Twitter primarily as a mechanism for promoting new blog content are missing a bigger opportunity to build out a separate and distinct publishing channel that enhances and expands their blogging footprint.

This integrated approach to new media is no different than what has happened in other formats over the years.