Eric Schmidt Discusses Need To Help Newspapers

    June 12, 2008

Should the death of print ever occur, Google doesn’t want to be stuck holding the murder weapon.  Eric Schmidt has stated that "it’s a huge moral imperative to help here" in reference to the newspaper industry.

Schmidt made the comment at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, so cynics might accuse him of playing to the crowd.  The CEO certainly didn’t offer monetary gifts, and he didn’t announce any new programs or studies, either.

Eric Schmidt
 Eric Schmidt

Yet Mike Masnick states, "He means that the moral obligation isn’t to give them money, but to give them the tools by which they can make more money."  So it’s possible that Google is working on (or at interested in) advertising partnerships with a number of papers.

With year-over-year first-quarter spending on newspaper ads down 5.2 percent according to TNS, newspaper companies would likely welcome a new alliance.  Execs in charge of the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium will be less than happy if this is the case, but Schmidt has yet to say anything about a moral imperative to help them.

Assuming Google makes some move, expect it sooner rather than later.  Newspapers’ situations seem to be growing worse all the time, and the word "imperative" doesn’t suggest a laidback approach.