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Did the Internet kill the Rocky Mountain News? And if it did, what can we learn from its death?

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Did the Internet kill the Rocky Mountain News? And if it did, what can we learn from its death?

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These are the slides for a presentation at Webcom 2009 in Montreal on Oct. 22, 2009. A version of this talk is available on Vimeo. In that version, you can hear me narrate the presentation. The text of this talk is also available on my blog at www.johntemple.net. This talk expands upon my speech at the UC Berkeley Media Technology Summit at the end of September at Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley. This talk places what happened to the Rocky in the larger context of what was happening on the Internet at the same time and what was happening in our society.

These are the slides for a presentation at Webcom 2009 in Montreal on Oct. 22, 2009. A version of this talk is available on Vimeo. In that version, you can hear me narrate the presentation. The text of this talk is also available on my blog at www.johntemple.net. This talk expands upon my speech at the UC Berkeley Media Technology Summit at the end of September at Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley. This talk places what happened to the Rocky in the larger context of what was happening on the Internet at the same time and what was happening in our society.

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Did the Internet kill the Rocky Mountain News? And if it did, what can we learn from its death?

  1. 1. Did the Internet kill the Rocky Mountain News? And, if it did, what can we learn from its death? John Temple
  2. 2. The Twitter answer YES and no. Internet the fundamental cause of death. Economic collapse the final blow. Denver could not support two general interest newspapers.
  3. 3. First edition: April 23, 1859
  4. 4. Final edition: Feb. 27, 2009
  5. 5. Final home page
  6. 6. “You are the model of what a great newspaper should be. It’s a tragedy for the industry that you disappear.” - Rich Boehne, President of E.W. Scripps Co.
  7. 7. So, why did the Rocky disappear?
  8. 8. “We couldn’t give up the idea that we were newspaper companies.” - Alan Horton, former Scripps Senior VP
  9. 9. You have to know what business you’re in. Lesson #1
  10. 10. Know your competition. Lesson # 2
  11. 11. “We just couldn’t show that it was having any measurable impact on retention of print subscribers and it wasn’t producing revenue.” - Former A La Carte executive
  12. 12. TO OUR READERS Rocky Mountain News (CO) - Thursday, February 29, 1996 Author/Byline: Bob Burdick, Editor Edition: Regional Section: Local Page: 2A I never have been much good at saying goodbye. But that is my task today for many loyal readers of the Rocky Mountain News.
  13. 13. You have to have a strategy and you have to be committed to pursuing it. Lesson # 3
  14. 14. Our priority was to deliver the paper on time.
  15. 15. Know your goal. Lesson # 4
  16. 16. Keep new ventures free from the rules of the old. Lesson # 5
  17. 17. The people running a new venture need to be free to do what’s best for that business, regardless of the potential impact on the old. Lesson # 6
  18. 18. Denver’s papers declare truce Apply to Justice Department for permission to enter into Joint Operating Agreement
  19. 19. Bill Burleigh, Scripps Dean Singleton, MediaNews The authors of Denver’s Joint Operating Agreement
  20. 20. If you want to compete in a medium, you have to understand it. Lesson # 7
  21. 21. Measure, measure, measure. Lesson # 8
  22. 22. Without R&D, how are local news companies going to get out on the edge and develop new offerings? Lesson # 9
  23. 23. Know your customers. Lesson # 10
  24. 24. “We were used to telling people what we thought they needed and how they needed it.” - Scripps marketing director
  25. 25. Newspapers should look for opportunities to scale.
  26. 26. Newspapers should partner more and explore new forms of partnerships.
  27. 27. Newspapers should grow the pie instead of trying to hold onto their piece of it.
  28. 28. Newspapers should give consumers more control.
  29. 29. Newspaper should stop looking in the rear-view mirror.
  30. 30. Finally, the main newspaper cannot be allowed to dictate what the future should look like.
  31. 31. Lessons from the Rocky Mountain News 1. Know what business you’re in. 2. Know your customers. 3. Know your competition. 4. Know your goal. 5. Have a strategy and be committed to pursuing it. 6. Measure, measure, measure. 7. Keep new ventures free from the rules of the old. 8. Let the people running a new venture do what’s best for their business, regardless of the potential impact on the old. 9. To compete in a new medium, you have to understand it. 10. Invest in R&D.
  32. 32. ©John Temple jtemplermn@gmail.com www.johntemple.net 303-809-7998 835 Niagara St. Denver, CO 80220

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