Well, since I can't sleep and I already had a whole "bash Jeff Jarvis" theme going tonight I thought I'd tackle this post he made a couple hours ago entitled "A stake through the heart of the has-been Inquirer"
Here's the quote...
What the hell are they thinking in Philadelphia? Inquirer ME Mike Leary just sent a memo saying they are going to hold all but breaking news for the paper and even restrict bloggers from using their blogs to work on stories in progress.
Mr. Jarvis goes on to say...
You are killing the paper. You might as well just burn the place down. You’re setting a match to it. This is insane. Even the slowest, most curmudgeonly, most backward in your dying, suffering industry would not be this stupid anymore. They know that the internet is the present and the future and the paper is the past. Protecting the past is no strategy for the future. It is suicide. It is murder. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
The problem with Mr. Jarvis' logic (if it can be called that) is that it makes no business sense. Basically he's saying "do exactly what all your competitors are doing and you'll be successful" but if you are doing exactly what your competitors are doing than you have no competitive advantage.
Worse, if your competitors are better positioned you actually set yourself up for a battle you can't win.
To really determine whether this is a smart move for the Philadelphia Inquirer you have to look at the relevant business factors. For example, I suspect part of the Inquirer's problem is that people who prefer to get their news online generally turn to major networks. Meaning TV stations which cover local news but have the vast resources of a network behind their web sites for national news would make it impossible for the Inquirer to compete in that market (they are independently owned by a local media holdings company).
So the question becomes, is the online edition pouching the people who would generally get their news via the paper edition (yes there are still people out there that prefer a paper news paper). Because that is the area where the Inquirer is most equipped to compete and the online battle is one they can not win.
In that context the Inquirer's decision makes perfect sense.
The irony here is that Mr. Jarvis last post championed the idea of niche markets but because the market for physical newspapers doesn't fit his world view he can't see how that too could be a profitable niche market for the Inquirer. Not everyone has to be online to succeed and there is no stock formula that creates business success in every scenario.
You can't just say "Blog and they will Come"
If there's a market to be served by focusing on a paper edition than the Inquirer isn't wrong to focus on that market provided they can support themselves doing so.
Addendum: This is worth a read