the newsgathering process if it is to continue. Setting the price point
at free — the newspaper analyst Alan D. Mutter called it the “original
sin” — has brought the industry millions of eyeballs and a return that doesn’t cover the coffee budget of some newsrooms.
Look, I’m not saying I’m adamantly opposed to paying some kind of premium for quality content provided said quality content is both, not to mention presented in user-friendly fashion, but to pretend the present model is failed is to tie your ice skates together, fall down, and say skating is impossible.
You could always try continuing to make money off what you’re doing right now, instead of pretending there’s some kind of Newspaper Authority that can dictate what a bunch of independently owned companies with similar but not identical missions and standards will do online. You could do marketing and distro correctly, such that people know why your paper is important and find it easily. You could stop cutting back and then acting like that’s going to stop the bleeding.
And then you could take themillions you’re still making and invest in an online infrastructure that makes newspaper sites user-friendly and fucking search engines user-possiblesuch that I don’t spend three days looking for a brief and getting nothing but recipes, Chicago Tribune.
In other words, you could unfuck what’s already there, instead of inventing new things to fuck up and then unfuck. I don’t understand the enduring need to make a whole new crisis instead of solving the one in front of us.