Jay Mariotti On Why He Got Out Of Newsprint

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Ron Hogan , who is the owner of Pop Fidelity, sent me this interview at Real Clear Sports with Jay Mariotti. Mariotti has a lot of opinions about the newspaper industry, why he left the Chicago Sun-Times after 17 years and what he plans on doing in the future. Mariotti’s departure has other Sun-Times employees with a bitter taste in their mouths, which he addresses in the article.

Here is an excerpt beginning with Mariotti talking of folding newspapers:

Sadly, we’re going to see numerous newspapers fold in 2009 and beyond. If a writer thinks his paper is in trouble, it probably is. And by all means, get your butt out of Dodge, because that paper certainly isn’t going to care about you when it decides to pull the cord. Problem is, if several dozen writers and editors are out on the street in a few months, who’s going to hire them all? At the moment, there’s only a handful of quality sports Web sites — AOL, ESPN, Yahoo, SI and Fox are a few. It’s like a game of musical chairs: When the music stops, who’s sitting and who’s not?

RCS: You’re now at AOL. Why does it have the future that the Chicago Sun-Times – and perhaps the newspaper industry more generally – does not?

Mariotti: Oh, 54 million unique visitors to its content sites in November alone — and no costs for a printing press, newsprint, ink, truck drivers, overtime, delivery, etc.

AOL is committed to the younger demographics that most newspapers ignore while very much serving the middle-agers who have had e-mail accounts for 10 years (such as me). It’s all about advertising, and given the economic condition of the country, I’m impressed by AOL’s ad growth and general business model on its various platforms. AOL is positioned for a boom era when the economy cooperates. Management gets it. The arrow is pointing up, not down, and it gives me the opportunity to write and travel and love what I do — instead of worrying about when the paper is going to fold.

So what do you think about those apples?

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One Comment

  1. Ron said January 23, 2009 | Permalink

    I got to admit, when Jay left the Sun-Times, I cheered when Roger Ebert shredded him. I absolutely loathe the guy’s TV personal (and his haircut, but that’s a different story). However, now that I’ve read his side of the story, and why he left the paper (he also talked about it in his AOL column), I can see why he left when he did. I don’t like him more, but I do understand his motivation a lot more.

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