OLD Media Moves

Economic Principals column turns 25

October 28, 2008

David Warsh writes about the 25th anniversary of his Economic Principals column, which began in the Boston Globe but has been online and independent since 2001, when the paper discontinued it after being bought by the New York Times Co.

Warsh writes, “I have, I think, learned how to make it work. With its public broadcasting-like format on the Web — supported, that is, by a relatively small number of subscribers, who receive an early email “bulldogâ€? edition — it now generates around $8,000 a year.  That’s not much; but along with income from books and talks, it’s enough to continue indefinitely, as long as renewals hold up and the base continues to grow. There’s no way to be comprehensive, or to compete with newspapers and magazines at what they do best, but EP still manages to maintain a baseline of coverage. (What’s really needed is some sort of a modest annual grant for a travel budget.)

“EP’s readership grew 70 percent this year, to more than 22,000 unique sites this month (some of them with many readers) in 115 countries around the world. It benefits from the services of not one but two top-notch copy editors, before and after the bulldog moves. If there are similar successful migrations from newspapers to the web, I don’t know about them. (Robert Hodierne, of the University of Richmond, has begun a census.

“Everyone knows that the newspaper business is shrinking, but the implications haven’t been sufficiently examined. To cope, papers have been eliminating beats, outsourcing coverage, and, in EP’s field, relying increasingly on economists to write rotating columns.”

Read more here.

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