Nathan Smith forsees newspapers of the future will focus on what they do best: delivering dead trees door-to-door rather than producing content.

A generation from now, running a newspaper will be pretty simple. One, you'll surf the web for good articles, debates, the latest major speeches, think tank reports, and blog posts. Two, select fifty thousand words or so of the best, most relevant content, in a variety of styles. Third, contact the writers for permission to syndicate, decide which fees (for those who ask them) are worth paying, and transfer the appropriate amount to their PayPal accounts. Fourth, correspond with advertisers, and assemble all the ads that are ready to print on a given day. Fifth, lay out your paper. Sixth, send it to the printers. Seventh, distribute it. Your staff will consist of web-surfing editors-and-content-finders, layout people and printers, and delivery boys with bikes, plus a staff to drum up advertisers and maybe a few reporters who deal with local issues.

He's got a lot more, and even describes a system whereby writers could continue to make a living. His ideas are pretty similar to the thoughts I wrote in "Media As a Loss Leader". Bryan at NetCynic obliquely notes that blogging companies face a similar dilemma: charging for their service would reduce its value.

(HT: Clive Davis.)

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