Some journalists are questioning how long print can sustain itself.
“The dailies are in big trouble,” says Tony Ortega, the editor of the
Village Voice, based in New York.
“It appears that they’re now
in a death spiral and it’s stomach-turning to watch. Good journalists
are being jettisoned every day as companies watch their ad revenues
dwindle and printing costs rise.”
In response to the current
crisis, some organisations are looking at new business models. One of
these is the non-profit model. “We’re already starting to see more
non-profit online dailies pop up in cities around the country,” says
Andrew Donohue, the editor of voiceofsandiego.org, a non-profit news
website that has broken a number of major stories in San Diego. “We get
calls and e-mails every week now from people around the country who
want advice on how to start similar publications in their communities.”
These websites typically run on a shoe-string budget, relying on foundations, donors and occasionally advertising.
are also a number of websites that have a more national focus, such as
ProPublica, which is devoted to investigative journalism, something
which, given the amount of time and money that goes into it, is often
first to be axed when budgets are cut in a traditional newspaper.
while the growth in non-profit journalism in the US is an exciting
development, it would be unrealistic to expect too much from this
model. “Speaking generally, non-profit news strikes me as a little too
much like vegetarianism,” says Jack Shafer, a highly regarded media
commentator. “They’re both good for you, but not very exciting and not
very likely to be visited for second helpings.”
The whole story is a big mess of fail, typical of today’s media crit. Once and for all for the dipshits in the room, declining revenue does not mean you don’t have enough revenue to pay the bills. Declining revenue doesn’t mean you’re losing money. It means that under the faulty assumption that divorces money in the bank from the things that money needs to pay for, yeah, you’re not doing as well as you were last year. Doesn’t mean you’re not still doing well, or doing okay, or doing kind of crappy but keeping your head above water. Doesn’t mean you’re not running a profitable enterprise, to the tune of 40 percent profit in some cases (cough Gannett’s greedy fuckers cough). Just means this year isn’t as good as years past. Name me a single thing about which this is not true.
I mean, good God, these are journalists spouting this bullshit, I expect a basic level of reading comprehension. If the dailies are in trouble it’s not because there’s millions instead of billions in print anymore. It’s not because people don’t still pay attention to newspapers and value them. It’s because hyperactive ownership and absolute shit-scrapings of management have for years demanded more profit than the market could sustain and have taken the return to normalcy with the shock of Daddy Warbucks when his favorite caviar isn’t available on demand. Jesus Marie, THINK, would you? I’m sorry you can no longer plate your office in gold but I’ve been hearing that print will be dead in a year for FIFTEEN YEARS and it keeps getting funnier every time I hear it except for how it makes me want to put my fist through something.
And by the by, Shafer, here’s a non-profit model of journalism that’s made good for 117 years. Maybe the second helping kind of sucked but during the fifth helping, right around the SPANISH AMERICAN WAR, nonprofit journalism really started kicking some ass. This isn’t tremendously new. You just have to look beyond the cursory Google search to find it. And care. You have to care, too, about being right.
And I’d like to be generous here, butI wrote a book about this, I can’t come over to your house and read it to you, too. You know what this feels like, me doing this? Trying to counter the accepted wisdom in any other aspect of anything, in which a narrative (George Bush is a popular war president! Everybody except hippie pussies loves him!) is being repeated, mindlessly, constantly, and it’s ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. I swear, sometimes I wonder if this fucking thing is on.
You can all hear me, right?