I've seen a lot of easy-going commentaries lately that simply suggest print editions close and companies move to online editions only in order to save costs. Typically they focus on stripping down expenses in order to preserve journalism and they assume a revenue stream will underwrite the newsroom. They cite the recent decision by the Christian Science Monitor to move to a weekly print edition and full-time online operation and say that's the model.
A few things are wrong with these assumptions. on about the transformation.
The revenue projections are extraordinarily optimistic. Clearly there is a value of print advertising that isn't translated, yet, into online.
The expense projections are extraordinarily conservative. Clearly there are plenty of other costs than the newsroom in producing a news report.
The assumptions about the ease in finding a market are incredible. The best way a newspaper markets itself is through its own product, but the online space is much more crowded and finding that market is that much more difficult without a print edition (and the solitude in consuming it) to communicate.
And there's an inherent callousness about these commentaries. They seem to assume that the only people worth preserving are the journalists and the sales teams.
Robert Ivan has done a good job on Seeking Alpha in sorting through what such a scenario might cast at the New York Times.