Still flying with baggage

Seems fashionable to dish “old” newspapers as an ongoing enterprise. One of the latest came just last week when New Yorker columnist Malcolm Gladwell, on a panel as part of the celebration of Slate’s 10th anniversary bash, said newspapers were a lot like airlines:

“The airline itself never makes any money, but everyone else connected with flying makes tons of money.”

I hadn’t heard the airline compassion to newspapers before and I don’t think it flies even if we have baggage. It is true that for the most part content from traditional media stokes the fires of the blogsphere.
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Not everyone’s gotten the fashion statement down completely. John Battelle, a Digital Age pioneer if there ever was one, notes Google and Microsoft had big ad spreads in the Wall Street Journal this week and says both the WSJ’s brand and audience

“have gotten a pretty clear endorsement from two of the very same giants who are supposedly threatening print’s very business model.”

He had this epiphany while flying and reading two newspapers. Hmmm… airlines again.
And a few days ago, Kathy Schwartz, the director of Internet operations at The Pocono Record, shot down an “endangered species” piece with this column. Schwartz chairs — and I’m a member of — the communications committee of the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation.
Schwartz says:

The assumption that the printed product will be extinct as a result of online publications is absurd and reflects a base misunderstanding of human behavior. Every person is different in his reading habits; newspaper companies recognize this and are creating an array of products on multiple media platforms to satisfy varied market segments.