Newspapers are not in the business of selling news to readers.
Rather, newspapers are in the business of selling readers’ attention to
And: The job of reporters and editors and designers is to grab the attention of readers, so that attention can be sold to advertisers.
And: Advertisers don’t miraculously shovel money at newspapers. Ad sales people have to convince them to buy ads.
That’s the newspaper business model. That’s also the online news business model. So let’s cut all this crap about how we need a new business model, huh?
What we need are reporters, editors and designers who can attract readers’ attention online AND ad sales people who can sell that attention to online advertisers.
Oh, and here’s one more dirty little reality that DOES appear to be a secret across too much of this industry: Lots of ad sales guys are scared as hell of this online stuff. They don’t know how to do it and they’d rather not have to learn.
Can we please stop talking nonsense now? I swear, half of the “future of journalism” seminars and forums and shit are designed to come up with the idea that we have to have something new and complicated to address all the problems, and since we can’t possibly do that thing, well, there’s nothing we can do to fix it, so let’s sit back, moan some more, and apply for fellowships. I am just about done trying to get any sensible ideas about how to fix journalism out of fucking think tanks and academic panels.