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Google CEO Eric Schmidt On Newspapers & Journalism


The following are quotations from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, selected from his interview on October 3, 2009 with Danny Sullivan of, representing Schmidt's view of present problems and possible future solutions for newspapers and journalism impacted by the Internet:

"The number of readers for newspapers is declining. The market is becoming more specialized. There will always be a market for people who read the newspaper on a train going into New York City. There will always be a market for people who sit in in the afternoon in a cafe in the city and read the newspaper in the sunshine. The term “killing” is a bit over[blown]. Newspapers face a long-term secular decline because of the shift in user habits due to the Internet."

"In the case of the newspapers, they have multiple problems which are hard to solve. If you think about it there are three fundamental problems. One is that the physical cost of things is going up, physical newsprint. Another one has been the loss of classifieds. And a third one has been essentially the difficulty in selling traditional print ads. So, all of them have online solutions. And we’ve come to the conclusion that the right thing to do is to help them with the online."

"We think that over a long enough period of time, most people will have personalized news-reading experiences on mobile-type devices that will largely replace their traditional reading of newspapers. Over a decade or something. And that that kind of news consumption will be very personal, very targeted. It will remember what you know. It will suggest things that you might want to know. It will have advertising. Right? And it will be as convenient and fun as reading a traditional newspaper or magazine.

"So one way one to think about it is that the newspaper or magazine industry do a great job of the convenience of scanning and looking and understanding. And we have to get the web to that point, or whatever the web becomes. So we just announced, the official name is Google Fast Flip. And that’s an example of the kind of thing we’re doing. And we have a lot more coming."

"I specifically am talking about investigative journalism when I talk about this. There’s no lack of bloggers and people who publish their opinions and faux editorial writers and people with an opinion. And I think that one of the great things about the internet is that we can hear them. We can also choose to ignore them. So it’s not correct to say that the internet is decreasing conversation. The internet is clearly increasing conversation at an incredibly rapid pace. The cacophony of voices is overwhelming as you know.

"Well-funded, targeted professionally managed investigative journalism is a necessary precondition in my view to a functioning democracy. And so that’s what we worry about. And as you know, that was always subsidized in the newspaper model by the other things that they did. You know, the story about the scandal in Iraq or Afghanistan was difficult to advertise against. But there was enough revenue that it allowed the newspaper to fulfill its mission" (

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