Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Is the future about one all-knowing AI or many? The new app Poe gets you ready to chat with them all
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 19, 2008, 1:54 p.m.

PC Magazine shows the way to transition online

So another one bites the print dust: PC Magazine will stop print publication in January.

But this isn’t just another step in the downward spiral of information-on-paper. This is, in some ways, a best-case scenario for newspapers — how it could go if lots of things go right. What do I mean?

— No layoffs for editorial employees — only on the print-production side.

— A full 70 percent of their revenues come from digital — “tens and tens of millions” of dollars. Their advertising base — primarily tech companies — has already made the transition to an online focus. Their online revenues have risen an average of 42 percent annually since 2001.

On one hand, a transition of tech ads online makes perfect sense. But to give PC Magazine credit, there’s a lot more competition online for what PC Magazine does than there is for what any American newspaper does. There are thousands of blogs and other sites competing for the narrow tech-nerd audience. The fact that PC Magazine has made increasing amounts of money when faced with that kind of competition is impressive.

How’d they do it? I’m sure there are lots of answers, but here’s one:

— PC Magazine realized long ago that one single brand isn’t enough online. Alongside the flagship PC Magazine site, over the years they’ve started a passel of niche sites targeting specific readers, with names like Smart Device Central, Cranky Geeks, Gearlog, and GoodCleanTech. Their eggs are spread across many baskets. I’m sure a few experiments have flopped along the way, but they’ve shown a willingness to experiment.

POSTED     Nov. 19, 2008, 1:54 p.m.
Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Is the future about one all-knowing AI or many? The new app Poe gets you ready to chat with them all
Poe lets you use ChatGPT alongside a new rival named Claude — which seems to work better in important ways.
Google now wants to answer your questions without links and with AI. Where does that leave publishers?
A dozen years ago, Eric Schmidt forecast the AI pivot that’s playing out this week. And the questions it prompts — around the link economy, fair use, and aggregation — are more real than ever.
A journalistic lesson for an algorithmic age: Let the scientific method be your guide
“One of the best parts about using the scientific method as a guide is that it moves us beyond the endless debates about whether journalism is ‘fair’ or ‘objective.’ Rather than focus on fairness, it’s better to focus on what you know and what you don’t know.”