Sigh. Far be it from me to argue with Dana, but it’s hard to avoidthe defensiveness and bitchery in this piece:
“The future of quality journalism is not dependent on the future of
newspapers,” announced Huffington, whose Web site relies on free
newspaper reporting. She scolded newspapers for having the nerve to
want to charge money for their products.
Mayer, who oversees Google News, explained how “Google is doing its
part” to preserve journalism — by keeping the lion’s share of ad
revenue before directing readers to newspaper sites. “Google News and
Google search provide a valuable service to online newspapers
specifically by sending interested readers to their sites,” she said.
Oh? Let’s plug in “Senate Commerce Committee ‘Future of Journalism’
hearing” into Google News and see what comes up. After a link to a wire
story, the second headline is “Google’s Mayer to Dispense Advice to
Newspapers At Senate Hearing.”
Um, not really. It’s not like it’s a fair fight, first of all. I don’t unequivocally love Ariana’s operation or Google, but you can’t pretend that the newspaper industry has been putting as much effort and attention into its online operations — particularly into the money-making side of its online operations — as HuffPo and Google have. Other people coming up with an idea first is not them being out to get you. Them buying your building and shutting off your electricity and having your taxes audited and mounting a hostile takeover of your board of directors is them being out to get you.
Google and the Huffington Post are not triumphing over anything but their own expectations for their businesses. Or is there a long list of former Washington Post advertisers (department stores, for example, or furniture sellers) who have told Washington Post advertising salespeople that they’re shacking up with Ariana this weekend instead of placing a full page in the paper? If so, that kind of information would inform readers better than assertions not supported by any subsequent evidence. Gimme the list and their phone numbers and while you’re at it, that doesn’t mean Google and the Huffington Post are triumphing, it just means your sales guys suck.
creator of HBO’s “The Wire,” who wore an open-collar black sport shirt
for the somber occasion.
It’s being murdered. And you of all people should know that. You wrote a fucking show about it.
strongest blow for newspapers. Though scolding publishers for their
“martyrology” and mismanagement, he spoke of how “aggregating Web sites
and bloggers contribute little more than repetition, commentary and
froth” and added: “The parasite is slowly killing the host.”
It fucking staggers me how people who used to be reporters can just go out there and say stuff like this without backing it up in any way at all. Talk to me about the NUMBERS, goddammit. As a news consumer, as a news junkie, I’m desperate to know why this is happening, but to do that I have to go on my own and find numbers about profitability — I’ll keep yelling it until somebody recognizes it signifies something, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE MADE A 16.7 PERCENT PROFIT THIS YEAR — and debt loads and the actual amount of effort put into selling online instead of just kicking back and waiting for online money to roll in. Newspapers are closing that have 200,000 subscribers. Do you know what this site would do with 200,000 subscribers? We’d buy Barbados and have a big party every year for the entire world to attend.
board hearing,” added the casually clad Simon, “is the day that I will
be confident that we have actually reached some sort of balance.”
Can I just mention how much I hate that HuffPo has become shorthand for all the Internet in the world, apparently? You want to run into an online reporter at a zoning board meeting? Try looking around for theBeachwood/Chicago Talks guys next time you blow through Chicago, David. Chances are they’ll be there. That story they did, by the way, hasn’t been picked up by any of your beloved big-city papers nor anyone else, because apparently the zoning board’s gone out of fashion with the traditional media, but why let the facts get in the way of a good line?
I didn’t watch this hearing yesterday because despite my love for John Kerry and despite my love for David Simon (even if he is descending into tooliness here) and despite my love for newspapers I had a feeling it would be about as related to journalism as baking banana bread so I did that instead. At least now I have a loaf of banana bread, and banana bread never made anybody dumber.
I was following various people Twittering it, and agree with Markos and with Oliver that if newspapers want to be nonprofits they should just go do it. They don’t need Cardin or Kerry or anyone else to set themselves up as 501c3’s and operate sensibly and within budget constraints that won’t bankrupt them. All they need is the will to make the decision not to be greedy assholes anymore.
Call me when that happens. I’ll likely be out tripping over people at the zoning board.