The Internet Still Seeks a Pulitzer
It was the Atlanta Press Club Christmas party. The guest was the CEO of Cox Enterprises, James Cox Kennedy, so (for once) everyone at the local fishwrap, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, showed up.
They were scared. They were worried about this "Internet" thing, a medium I had already been covering for a decade by that time. But Kennedy reassured them, insisting they would prosper by "repurposing" existing content on new sites like Yall.com. (I still have the t-shirt.)
I had to go behind a pillar, I was laughing so hard. The whole idea was stupid, ludicrous, a guaranteed failure. But Kennedy was a big-time CEO, I was just a dumb reporter, I didn't even work for him, so why should he listen to me?
Nearly two decades later, the local news opportunity still hasn't been addressed. Cox is throwing another $250 million at the Internet, TechCrunch reports, and talking up a national conservative Web site, as the local Creative Loafing writes. But the newspaper is practically gone and nothing has replaced it.
AOL (AOL) has a bunch of local news sites called Patch. Their stock is rising thanks to higher ad revenue, as Marketwatch reports. But that money isn't coming from Patch. Analysts who have looked at the results told Reuters the big gains came from third-party ad sales -- selling ads for other publishers -- and the remaining dial-up customers.