Business Week’s Jon Fine (pictured) says it’s only a matter of time until one of the nation’s big dailies goes paperless and becomes an entirely online product — and he thinks the money-losing Chronicle should be the first to make the plunge.
- “On paper, San Francisco is perfect: a Web-centric town, a cash-drain daily, and private ownership. …
“All of this requires big thinking — and spending enough to create networks of local sites and a giant local portal. And it will take a brave man or woman to pull the plug on the presses.
“It almost takes a William Randolph Hearst.”
Fine also gives the downside to such a move — that it would eliminate the estimated $23 million the Chron gets from selling papers and advertisers still pay more for print ads than online.
But this idea of going “paperless” isn’t out of left field for Hearst Corp. In Seattle, where Hearst’s Post-Intelligencer is in a joint operating agreement with the Seattle Times, talk of a “paperless” P-I abounded when the two partners got into a legal dispute earlier this year. Here’s a link to a Seattle Times article from April 1 where the logistics of a “paperless” paper were analyzed.