Interesting blog post from Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist, on newspaper economics.

Hal points out a few things that I 100% agree with:

  • special interest local advertising was the bell cow for the newspaper business,
  • people consume news and information on social nets, mobile devices, etc. more and more today,
  • experimentation is key to helping newspapers survive and thrive in the 21st Century.

Google has been demonized by folks in the newspaper business for making audiences mobile and destroying newspaper brand loyalty.  While this has in fact happened, I don't know that it's fair to blame Google. These are trends that were bound to be realized with Internet technology.

Now Mr. Varian is certainly not a "disinterested" party.  But he does make good points here.  Newspapers must continue to push the envelope and experiment with new models.  It's a cultural problem that must be overcome — and it's tougher in some local media companies than others.