Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:04 pm

Rule 4a of Journalism: Always do the math

Filed under: Journalism — Lex @ 7:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

It is a commonplace not only among the public but even within the newspaper industry that Craigslist is killing newspapers by sucking away classified-advertising revenue,.

Here’s my question: How?

Craigslist revenue has only now topped $100 million a year.

Drop in newspaper classified-ad revenue in the most recent year? About $4 billion.

Someone want to explain this to me? Because even this English major knows that that math don’t add up.

(h/t: Tosczak)

UPDATE: My bud Jon Lowder e-mails a link to this Jeff Jarvis piece posted today, which may explain much of the discrepancy. It’s more about the big picture, although it uses newspapers-vs.-Craigslist as an example.

I need to think some more about whether I buy Jarvis’s argument. He argues that old economic metrics no longer apply. Problem is, we’ve heard several times in the past couple of decades that the old rules didn’t apply, only to find out, quite painfully, that they indeed still did. I’m not enough of an economist (at least, not yet) to figure whether there are holes in Jarvis’s thesis.

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