Newspaper Obituary

I don't get the newspaper.

1) I don't like the black ink.
2) It makes me sneeze, allergic
3) I hate the waste, the landfills, the trees

Just last month Devin Leonard, senior writer at Fortune wrote:

Harbinger of things to come in the news business?

This was my response to Mr. Leonard:

If The New York Times, one of the best brand names in the business (along with The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times) can't make a go of it, what is the point?

What is the business model that works?

What could two or three board seats do?

Look at papers like
Sun-Times Media Group Inc (SVN), down 93%, and Journal Register Co (JRCO), down 98%, over the past five years.

They need a business model that works. The Albuquerque Tribune, here where I live, just pulled the plug and packed it up.

I personally don't read the newspaper because of allergies and the waste they create.

Is changing the board just a shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic?

Owning a TV station in another city doesn't make sense to me (Sun-Times Media does. UPDATE: They have started selling off those stations.) There is no cross-marketing/cross selling. You must DRIVE people to the paper/website.

About the only thing that I can think of is for a newspaper to own a TV station and radio station and use them to do briefs of story's, and if you want a more comprehensive story you must either buy the paper or buy an online subscriptions, but you must have all four. Also, you combine advertising with a customer (selling them a TV ad, radio ad, Newspaper ad, and online ad all in one-tied ads) and tell the TV/radio viewer/listener that to get a coupon they have to get the paper. There HAS to be a reason to either get the paper or pay online. What is that reason. A single market vertical approach.


Another idea would be that Kindle from Amazon (without the stupid laugh of Jeff Bezos). If they could reach critical mass, and get the price point down. A well run newspaper might give or lease you the device for very low cost and then get you to pay a monthly subscription fee. But, this will be tough because the end user wants flexibility.

Another factor that will hurt newspapers is the rising cost of fuel.

You could also see a decoupling between printing and content. You would have a statewide, nationwide or global company (s) that prints many papers, from different content providers, at local printing plants. If you didn't truck the papers all over the state, maybe you could cut back on fuel cost. In small towns, these would be new digital cutting-edge micro presses, for small runs and the ability for quick change. One printing outlet could print 20 different newspapers in a day.

Bottom line, it is a tough road to hoe. And as the Baby Boomers go, so goes the traditional newspaper business.

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Last Message to Senator Pete Domenici:

Alright, Senator Pete Domenici only has a little time left to do any good in Washington. So, for the remaining time, what will be your lasting legacy?

I want Senator Pete Domenici to spend a good deal of time and energy on Energy.

Before you go, please, please, please, try hard to get a long-term National Energy Plan passed. An outline of the next 25, 50, and 100 years of what the United States will try to accomplish for the county's energy needs.

You have been talking about this for at least 25 years. But, mostly it has just been talk.

Where is that nuclear plant that you used to advocate? Why the heck can't we build one at the Trinity Site, Nellis Bombing Range, next to the WIPP facility? Somewhere please.

If you don't have a map, how can you get to your destination? This country is driving around without a plan or map for energy policy, just hoping to get somewhere.

Imagine for a few minutes if in 1980 we had made a "man-on-the-moon" push for renewable energy technology. Every house in America would have solar panels and wind turbines on the roof. Every business would have the same with energy efficient lighting and climate control. There would be small-hidden hydro-power technologies and geothermal plants throughout the west. Electric and hydrogen vehicles dot the highways and stations to re-fuel them are readily available.

With all these things in place, the cost to the consumers and business to heat, cool, light, and secure their dwellings in next to nil. All that money that goes to pay for power is now going to develop something else, like higher taxes so the damn national debt and interest on the debt won't drive the federal government into bankruptcy. So, you'll stop printing money. Or, if power was free, maybe we could fix heath care or Social Security. Imagine that.

We have wasted so much time. This is supposed to be the greatest country on the planet. But, millions don't have health care, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, are all going broke. Food and energy prices are going up. Or, what if we didn't have to pay for our basic energy needs we could use that money to put into education, imagine that for a while would you?

If we are the greatest country we should strive to first provide these following basic needs to this country, and then to the rest of the world: 1) basic water, 2) basic food, 3) basic shelter, 4) basic power, 5) basic health care, and 6) basic education for all.

If all homes and business in this country were putting energy into the grid, that energy could be sold and exported to Mexico, Central America, South American, Haiti for God's sake! A country only a 600 miles from Miami and we have let it become the worst country in the Western Hemisphere.

If we did not subsidize our sugar farmers, paid less for world sugar, or bought sugar from Haiti instead. What if we just took the money that we pay to our sugar farmers and bought sugar at a fair market price from Haitian farmers?

What a sad, sad, commentary that you have been in a position of power all this time, have had the power to do something, but along with your fellow congressmen have let Haiti become hell on earth.

We, the United States, should get the United Nations to implement a "Weakest Link" program to target the worst country in the world, and put all the resources that we can muster into fixing that country. Then, move on to the next one. It would be like a city targeting the worst neighborhood, or a state targeting the worst community, or a country targeting the worst school.

Identify the Weakest Link, and then overwhelm that target until it is fixed. Find the worst school in America and do a shock-&-awe on it.

Do the same to Haiti, give it the education and other basic needs that it needs to pull it self out of the hell hole that it is in. Imagine if we have spent 1/10th money in Haiti that we have in Iraq?

If we had put in place a comprehensive energy program, a comprehensive health care program, fix ourself. We wouldn't have had to "go" to Iraq. Unless a son just needed to save the face of his father. But, now you see why 41 didn't go to Baghdad. So, if we had those other things in place, we could fix things in our own backyard.

So, before you go Mr. Pete. Please put in place a mechanism to give this country basic energy needs, so we can spend the money on rice, or to buy water from the Canadians in a few years. And get us off the carbon dinosaur before that T-Rex eats our ass. If we had started a comprehensive program after the gas lines of the 1970s, we would be fixing the environment now.

It no longer matters who's fault it is about the environment. It no longer matters if man caused it or not. Stop debating the cause and just fix the problem. If we don't, we will see the Dark Age in spades.

These debates should be done. Just go to the energy-moon by 2020. There should be no more questions. Fund R&D for renewables until the price-points become more affordable. Pass funding for power companies to build nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc. until they can't pass up the opportunity to make it part of their business model or go out of business.

Senator Pete Domenici, what will you legacy be? What fruit will your last few months produce? Anything?

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Can Desert Solar Supply Europe's Energy?

Read this article by Jens Lubbadeh from Spiegel Online at Business Week:

Can Desert Solar Supply Europe's Energy?

And, here is my reply:

If the OPEC countries are smart, they would take the profits from oil & gas and plow them into this idea. They would continue to have a hold over us (the "West"), fix their coming water problem, and continue their revenue stream after the O&G starts to fade. Since they will hold the political ability to cut the power, they should be the major investors here, and become SoPEC.

For political reasons, this can't be the European Union's only solution, they must promote a three legged stool of renewables: Solar, Wind, and Geothermal. (Throw tidal in there for a fourth leg.) In addition, they should keep pushing some amount of Nuclear, and keep developing Hydrogen.

Along this same reasoning, and politically a lot safer, Australia should build solar plants in Western Australia and sell the power to Southeast Asia. I would invest in that, and also, I would invest in a company that makes insulators, transformers, cable, towers, etc., for building the power transmission grids.

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