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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

The arrival of trophy newspapers

“True multiplatform, multimedia news production still rolls along on training wheels, much tougher to master than anyone had suspected.”

It’s enough to give even the bravest forecaster triskaidekaphobia trepidation, but let me assert 10 predictions for the year ahead.

  1. The half-life of metro newspaper publishers: Half what it was five years ago.
  2. Two dozen: How many dailies follow The New York Times’ example and see their circulation revenue exceed their advertising revenue on an annual basis.
  3. The arrival of trophy newspapers: Why take on a demanding and time-consuming mate when you can buy a newspaper for the cost of a mansion? With the entire stock of eight Tribune newspapers valued at a little more than a tenth of what Dow Jones sold for just five years ago, why not take home two?
  4. The FCC’s cross-ownership debate does little more than make people angry: With scant evidence that allowing newspapers and TV stations to pool their assets — no increase in news, in public service or in survivability — the debate gets mired in abstract notions of “multiplatform.” True multiplatform, multimedia news production still rolls along on training wheels, much tougher to master than anyone had suspected.
  5. 10x: The number of jobs open for “responsive designers.”
  6. 5x: The number of Big Data tamers offering their services to publishers.
  7. The Midtown Conference convenes: And like the Berlin Conference of 1884, global publishing interests divide up territories where they want to plant Internet news colonies, following the example of The Wall Street Journal in Germany and The New York Times in China and Brazil.
  8. Last Man Standing goes into pre-production: Daniel Day-Lewis will take on his toughest role, playing Rupert Murdoch in the 2015 film — and given the age of his subject, he’ll have less time than usual to prepare for it.
  9. Siri learns the question: Can I get my newspaper delivered today?
  10. Bobblehead Brooks: News International’s Rebekah Brooks tries to shake off Scotland Yard’s charges of bribery.