Xark's Dan Conover, evidently a newspaperman, writes in "The newspaper suicide pact" about the mountain of bullshit that has entered the discussion about the future of newspaper business-models. This is some of the clearest, most interesting, best-referenced criticism of the newspaper industry's thrash-and-FUD I've read:
Newspapers that are turning to paywall plans today are gambling on a risky revenue stream that even the experts aren't predicting will provide a replacement to their lost advertising revenues (their biggest financial problem is the rapid decline in advertising rates, not the slow decline in print circulation). It's a "well, we've got to do SOMETHING" solution, not a logical, do-the-math solution. And since since most media companies are owned by shareholders, the resulting loss of confidence could be catastrophic.
What will these media executives do when that reality hits them? When these debt-burdened chains, stripped of journalistic talent by a decade of profiteering, their web traffic reduced by 60 percent by their paid-content follies, their pockets emptied by the cost of the proprietary paywall systems offered by Journalism Online LLC and other opportunistic vendors, what will they do?...
They don't get it. They don't want to get it. And in many cases, they're literally paid not to get it.
America's journalism infrastructure - from corporate giants to non-profit foundations like the American Press Institute and the Newspaper Association of America - is funded by dying companies. So when you hear about efforts to save newspapers (and, by extension, journalism), understand that answers that don't return the possibility of double-digit profits and perpetual top-down control aren't even considered answers. They're not even considered.
They'll do anything to survive... so long as it doesn't involve change.
(via John McDaid -- an award-winning science fiction writer who also manages to put out an all-volunteer, top-notch political zine covering town-hall politics in his small town, about a thousand times better than anything you'd get from the ink-stained set)
- Future of news and business - Boing Boing
- Newspapers' Depressing Internal Lingo - Boing Boing
- Seattle Newspaper Goes Online Only; World Doesn't End - Boing Boing
- Newspapers are dumb to blame Google for their problems - Boing Boing
- Saving Newspapers, Part MMIX: Collude and Conspire - Boing Boing
- The Newspaper Industry and the Arrival of the Glaciers - Boing Boing
- 1981 video about online newspapers - Boing Boing
- LA cop union buys stake in newspaper, demands critical writers be ...