Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz chatted with online readers on May 27, revealing some interesting tidbits about working with a shrinking staff in a major newsroom.
Kurtz, who, unlike many well known journalists at the newspaper, did not take a recently offered Post buyout, also talked about the economics of moving one of the best known media brands in the world online.
Kurtz emphasized numerous times that he believes the future of the newspaper is indeed online. Here are two of his responses:
- “If the Post took down its Web site tomorrow, it might boost circulations slightly in the [Washington] DC-Maryland-Virginia area. But since 85% of the 9.4 million readers online live outside the area and can’t physically buy the paper, it makes no sense to cut off their access to Post journalism while we all try to figure out how to make money on the Web.”
- “Slate and Salon both have gone through periods of charging for access and suffered as a result. Time magazine also went through a period of putting much of its content behind a wall. The only general news site that has successfully charged for subscriptions is The Wall Street Journal, and it obviously has an unusually affluent audience.”