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Chron unable to 'monetize online eyeballs'

The Chron ran a more in-depth story this morning on the layoffs in its newsroom than the brief it printed yesterday revealing that it would reduce its newsroom by 25 percent or 100 jobs. The most striking information came at the end, where the Chron acknowledged that despite having one of the nation’s most widely read Web sites — SFGate — the paper hasn’t been able to “monetize online eyeballs.”

The LA Times brings up the same issue in today’s story about the layoffs:

The newspaper industry has been trying for more than a decade to “monetize” its Web sites. To get people to their sites, newspapers have put all of their stories online and taught readers to go to the Internet if they want news. The plan was to phase out print and convert newspapers into online businesses. Now newspapers are finding that, after years of trying, they can’t make much money off of the Internet and that their content is being stolen by online news sites.

Not only has the content of newspapers been ripped off by Internet companies, but newspapers have willingly — and enthusiastically — allowed Google and Yahoo to use their ad reps. Newspapers have sales forces that literally go from door to door calling on businesses, something those Internet companies lack. So now newspaper ad reps are selling ads for Google and Yahoo. But what do these Internet companies think about their new partners? On May 10, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was asked by reporters if his company was interested in buying newspapers. Nope, he said, according to Reuters.

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