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Articles by Ken Doctor

Ken Doctor is a news industry analyst and the author of Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get (St. Martin’s Press). He also runs the book’s companion website, newsonomics.com. He is an analyst for the research firm Outsell and a regular consultant and speaker. He spent 21 years with Knight Ridder in a variety of roles, including as managing editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and as a vice president of Knight Ridder Digital.
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The duopoly, the FCC, and the hunger for scale — these three forces are roiling the news industry, from corporate conglomerates to your hometown daily.
First Sinclair and now the Kochs are back. In an age of media free-for-all and massive deregulation, will fact-based journalism become an endangered species?
“I think over the next five years, it’s possible the competitive landscape will actually get in some ways more attractive for The New York Times, because I’m afraid I see a lot of casualties over the next few years because of the economics of the industry.”
Led by the cofounder of Square, Invisibly promises “four-figure CPMs” and a way to make big money off readers who won’t subscribe. It says it has most of the U.S. digital news industry on board. But is it just “an ad network dressed up as a savior for news sites”?
“To be a Times reporter is to be in some ways a raconteur, right? A lot of the journalists here are great, great storytellers at a bar…I think The Daily taps into that great oral tradition of journalists, enthusiastically talking about a story in a way they’re excited about, and it gets people excited about it.”
Will more than 2 percent of digital readers ever pay for news? “There is a whole universe living between ads and subscriptions.”
His new startup Scroll aims to target readers who are engaged but not willing to sign up for a dozen digital subscriptions across their favorite sites. “Publishers have to make more money from this than they would have from advertising. Which, thankfully, is increasingly easy to do.”
Is Tronc’s acquisition of the New York tab a linchpin to a national strategy, or just another declining property to add to its portfolio?
Can it attract a new editor of national stature with digital savvy? Or will continued chaos within Tronc scare talent off?
“The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ProPublica, among others, have risen to the national occasion. But they can’t be expected to grapple with the real, transcendent issues state by state, community by community.”