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@JXPaton on the future of newspapers at the #CJFForum

Digital First. Print Last. The Gospel According to John Paton Meet the Canadian media mogul who just might have the best strategy for saving the newspaper industry. The CEO of New York based Digital First , Paton is transforming his chain of 150 papers…


  1. Audience members look on as Bob Lewis, chairman of the Canadian Journalism Foundation (right), introduces moderator Douglas Knight, president of St. Joseph Communications  (middle), who is to introduce the night's speaker, John Paton (left), CEO of Digital First Media, at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto on February 16, 2012.
  2. Douglas Knight, president of St. Joseph Communications, takes the podium to introduce the evening's speaker, John Paton [ @jxpaton on Twitter | ;], CEO of Digital First Media. 
  3. John Paton takes the stage and starts to explain his approach to newspapers.

    The "he-said-last-night" approach to reporting is out of touch with the way in which people consume news today —  "digital first, print last," Paton says.

    The traditional approach to newspapers favoured by old-school newspaper executives — who don't understand digital media — is at the root of the industry's problems, Paton says.
  4. Paton outlines some of the hard facts of today's news business.

  5. Paton says that in Canada, plans by some in the newspaper industry to wrap the print product in glossy stock — "It rhymes with 'Mobe'" — are wrong-headed. If consumption habits stagnated, even at peak growth levels of 2.7 per cent a year that preceded the decline, it would take decades to return to 2005 levels, Paton says.

  6. Coming to grip with reality is the hardest challenge for newspaper executives, Paton suggests, and cites Clay Shirky's 2009 essay, "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable." 

  7. Another part of the problem is that the public's tastes and what they expect of news sources has changed, Paton says.