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Google Can Help Newspapers, Says Google CEO

Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt has gazed into the future of the news business, and — surprise! — he sees Google playing a big, vital role. In his Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece, Schmidt heralds the advent, in the not-so-distant future, of an era in which the Internet “will foster a new, digital business model.” Hmmm! –KA

Eric Schmidt in The Wall Street Journal:

So when I think about the current crisis in the print industry, this is where I begin—a traditional technology struggling to adapt to a new, disruptive world. It is a familiar story: It was the arrival of radio and television that started the decline of newspaper circulation. Afternoon newspapers were the first casualties. Then the advent of 24-hour news transformed what was in the morning papers literally into old news.

Now the Internet has broken down the entire news package with articles read individually, reached from a blog or search engine, and abandoned if there is no good reason to hang around once the story is finished. It’s what we have come to call internally the atomic unit of consumption.

Painful as this is to newspapers and magazines, the pressures on their ad revenue from the Internet is causing even greater damage. The choice facing advertisers targeting consumers in San Francisco was once between an ad in the Chronicle or Examiner. Then came Craigslist, making it possible to get local classifieds for free, followed by Ebay and specialist Web sites. Now search engines like Google connect advertisers directly with consumers looking for what they sell.

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