Happy Kerry Photo: Newsies Edition

John Kerry


“America’s newspapers are struggling
to survive and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the
lives and financial security of the employees involved, including
hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our
democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount,”
Kerry wrote in a letter sent to union leaders Friday. The union
released the letter yesterday.

his letter, addressed to “the Boston Globe family,” Kerry voiced his
commitment to the industry and to ensuring that the “vital public
service newspapers provide does not disappear.”

increase in media conglomerates has resulted in an increase in
agenda-driven reporting and over time, if those of us who value a
diversity of opinion and ideas, and are unafraid to be confronted with
pointed commentary and analysis, do not act, it is a situation which
will only get worse,” Kerry wrote.

I’m not entirely sure that any situation can be improved by the intervention of Congress, but honest to God, I’m so desperate for an intelligent conversation about newspapers’ problems that I’ll take one wherever I can get it. I spent the weekend, as Doc noted below, in a meeting that was parenthetically about this very thing, and while it was less fact-free than most conversations, there was still quite a lot of “you have no business model”-ing and “nobody can make money on the web”-ing, and discussions about how the reason people read news online is that it’s free so fuck them, they’ll be sorry when newspapers die.

And it just made me want to lay down and have somebody wake me up in 10 years when the conversation’s moved on.When these people are finally in charge:

The course, new to the curriculum, was in desperate need of a
revision already. Mr. McGuire, a 23-year veteran of The Star Tribune in
Minneapolis, was in need of a re-­education himself.

“I knew
what I knew until I realized there was an earthquake underfoot,” he
says. He immersed himself in Internet business models. He started a
blog. The course was renamed “The Business and Future of Journalism.”
He quickly learned that today’s journalism students don’t enroll to
hear, in Mr. McGuire’s words, “old newspaper farts telling them that
the business is doomed.”

“They know the model is broken,” he
says. “They think, We’ll just have to fix it.”

I’ll take “we have to fix it” a thousand times over, “you readers all just dumped us for the Drudge Report, you assholes.” A modest suggestion for the Senator’s panel: Get these guys on it.


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