Will Sudduth (2/27/1925-2/23/2005)

Will Sudduth I went to my Uncle Will’s funeral Saturday in Hickory, N.C.
(William Sudduth, 2/25/1995 – 2/23/2005, a native of Coila, Miss., who lived nearly all his adult life on Snow Creek Road in Hickory in a house I spent many hours in as a child.)
The service included his sons, and grandsons and a couple nephews playing a few country/bluegrass songs, including the “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Guitars, electric bass, drums, fiddle, mandolin .. it was a nice tribute.
Eddie and Earl Sudduth, Stanley Edwards and lots of others have played music at family gatherings like Christmas and reunions for almost as long as I can remember … and Will certainly enjoyed that.
There was a wonderful story about a woman who noticed the wreath at the house and stopped and left a card. She said Will waved at her and her pre-school age daughter from his front porch nearly every morning and the daughter had called him “Paw Paw.” Even though they had never met and she didn’t know his name, Will had touched their lives.
While a sad reason to get together, I saw some cousins and their children and their grandchildren that I hadn’t seen in quit a while. That was good.

Stopping the Presses

The Internet has changed the economics of the publishing industry in a way commercial television never did. The price of news and information has irrevocably been pushed way down the supply/demand curve. The Web has also destroyed the functional monopoly of the local daily newspaper with the very high barriers to technical entry. Anyone can be a publisher, and, it seems, these days, most anyone is.

Forbes, 2/22/2005
Also, see Forbes article All The Loyalty That’s Fit To Print, 2/23/2005
“Stopping the Presses” is the pessimistic view (the nightmare of cost-cutting to profitability). But in truth the transition to a new economic model will be bloody .. there’s no way around it. The difficult question raised in the article is: “How serious news organizations will survive when print is in decline but online is not yet generating the revenue to fund expensive newsgathering operations.”
I believe — as someone in the newspaper industry — we will, however, remake ourselves. And while change we must, the industry’s doomsayers might want to remember this quote from Mark Twain: You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

More on newspapers buying Web companies

More on the ABout.com and MarketWatch buys:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Newspaper publishers, often seen as stodgy and slow-growing, will pay whatever it takes to grab a bigger piece of the fast-growing online advertising market — if two recent deals are any indication.

Reuters, 2/18/2005

Bubble II bubbles

WSJ buying MarketWatch, NYT buying About.com. the Washington Post Co. buying Slate. and a virtual horse race of big Internet players buying up startups with promising technologies all point to the telltale signs of Internet Bubble II.
These may all be good deals, but expect to see a lot of money burned on mergers and acquisitions that would never work and business plans straight from the Meth Lab.
The driver is the growing penetration of “always on” ubiquitous Internet access from broadband in the home, WiFi networks and cell phones.
And newspaper companies are scrambling to redouble their efforts to be part of the next “New, New Thing” (to steal the title of Michael Lewis‘ 2000 book).
Frank Arhens’ Feb. 20, piece in the Washington Post “Hard News, Daily Papers Face Unprecedented Competition . . ..” nails the issues for newspapers.

“I could argue pretty forcefully that the free model and the non-newsprint model is what we’re looking at in the future,” said San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein. “Things are moving far quicker than we thought a few years ago” to new outlets besides ink-on-paper.

Can we make the transition? If we play it smart, we can (… I hope).