Felix Salmon

The impossibility of tablet-native journalism

December 3, 2012

The Daily has reached the end of its life: as News Corp splits in two, its losses, which might have been manageable within the current behemoth, would have loomed far too large in the smaller spinoff.

Is stock-picking just another hobby for men?

November 28, 2012

I had a fascinating lunch, a couple of weeks ago, which lodged in my mind the idea that stock picking, at least when practiced by individuals, is best analyzed as an upper-middle-class hobby rather than as purely profit-focused investing activity. Once you start looking at it that way, suddenly a lot of behavior, which looks irrational under most lights, starts making a lot of sense.

The FT backs down on paywalled blogs

November 13, 2012

Back in mid-2010, the FT’s Money Supply blog disappeared behind the FT paywall, with promises that it wouldn’t be the last. From the top on down, the general attitude at the FT has been clear: the idea that the FT should publish information for free is “an absurd notion”, and given that the FT’s blogs are part of its high-value content, there’s no reason why they, too, should be free.

The FT in play

November 6, 2012

This will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but the Financial Times is going up for sale, according to Bloomberg, with an asking price of £1 billion. (Pearson has denied the story, in less than convincing terms.)

Magazines vs digital startups

October 22, 2012

Simon Dumenco has a question: would you rather own a magazine, or a digital startup? He notes that some magazines are making real money these days, including Marie Claire, even as most digital startups fail. Old Media isn’t sexy, he says, but “a lot of magazines continue to be not only damn good businesses, but are doing better than ever.”

Why keep Newsweek on life support?

October 18, 2012

It’s hard to make money in journalism, and even harder to make money in print journalism. But here’s what I don’t understand: invariably, every time a print publication fails, it announces that it’s not going to die, it’s just going to “transition to an all-digital format”. Newsweek, of course, is no exception. But this is supposed to be the clear-eyed, hard-hearted world of Barry Diller:

Padraic Fallon, 1946-2012

October 16, 2012

Padraic Fallon died on Saturday night, age 66. The news came as a shock to me, not least because I was pretty sure that Fallon was 66 years old back in 1995, when I first met him. Euromoney, naturally, is the place to turn for a characteristically warm and spicy remembrance, but you can be sure that across London — and large swaths of Ireland, too — there are thousands more such remembrances being retold tonight, always with an alcoholic accompaniment.

Why Margaret Sullivan is right to be wrong

October 12, 2012

I was one of the “oxpeckers” quoted by Joe Coscarelli giving the new NYT public editor, Margaret Sullivan, a “rapturous reception” — not on the grounds that she was particularly spot-on in her judgments, but rather on the grounds that she has been infinitely better than her predecessors when it comes to engaging with the enormous range of voices with an interest in the NYT’s content, both on her blog and on Twitter.

The caprice of publishers

September 27, 2012

TSG and Edward Champion have found a flurry of lawsuits brought by Penguin various authors who never delivered the books they promised. The lawsuits are asking for the authors’ advances back — but they’re also asking for interest, at pretty high and arbitrary rates.