The Internet Kills Journalism for the 207th Time


As readers flee to alternative sources of information, or to no information at all, because newspapers haven’t been able to deliver much that readers find useful or compelling, the Record of Hackensack has identified the core of the problem, and is addressing it head on, with great courage and wisdom.

What newspapers need to make them more useful and compelling, according to the Record’s obviously airtight and unassailable marketing survey, is to get rid of their “liberal bias.” And rather than waste a lot of time hiring crackerjack reporters and editors and setting them loose on the community to tell stories that the people of Hackensack could not possibly ignore, the Record is hauling editors into meetings with the marketing staff, where they will be schooled in the art of wringing every last bit of potentially controversial substance from their stories. I’m sorry, I mean from their “product.” And we all know — from those same kinds of marketing surveys — that if you offer news stories that don’t make anyone angry, readers will start beating down the newsroom doors for more. They just can’t get enough watered-down mush. The survey said so!

Similar surveys also tell us that people want better schools, and that they don’t want to pay for them through higher taxes. Those might sound like contradictory notions, but they are nonetheless true. You might not like it, but “the research is sound.” Don’t you dare argue! And if you write a news story about schools and taxes, don’t mention anything about how quality costs money. That’s “biased,” you filthy liberal!

As far as the imperiled future of newspapers, I’m not sure what the big mystery is. The answers are all right there in the Record’s memo.

The market research manager says so!

Is there a liberal slant to The Record’s news coverage? A number of readers who participated in recent telephone interviews with our market research team said they think there is.

The focus of interviews conducted over 10 days in March centered on what “jobs” readers want fulfilled by The Record. “Tell me the truth” stood out as a key job, but several readers added that they want the truth objectively – not from a reporter’s personal angle. That led to expanded conversations.

“A good portion of these people feel The Record is politically liberal,” said Joe Ferrara, market research manager. “Some of that may mirror a broader perception about media generally having a political agenda. But some people made the distinction between The Record’s editorial pages and news content, saying ‘Your opinion pages are sneaking over into your news articles’.”

Sneaking over. Under cover of darkness, perhaps, with little helmets covered in leaves and sticks so as to escape detection as they cross the river. Seriously, this guy says this, right out loud, and appears from context to have no clue how completely and totally insane it sounds.

But it’s Craigslist, don’t you know, that’s really ruining the Golden Age of newspapers.


11 thoughts on “The Internet Kills Journalism for the 207th Time

  1. On a just slightly related topic: I much prefer it when the late-night hosts take the product out from behind the desk and simply shill for them, like in the ‘old-days’.
    It may be crass, but it’s honestly and directly so.

  2. It does seem like the AMerican people are fully in favor of complete oblivion, newswise. A few weeks ago, I tried very hard to find an international story in the front section of my hometown paper, The Cincinnati Enquirer and could not. My old mom takes the paper only on the weekends now and relies on talk radio and Fox for her current events. No matter how much my sis and I rail at her… anyway, I don’t base my sweeping conclusion on the willful ignorance of AMericans on the habits of an 89-year-old… I base it on the fact no mob has arisen to throw the bums out.

  3. I grew up in Bergen County, NJ, the home of the Bergen Record, and my mother and brother and sister still live there. I can tell you without hesitation that there is nothing “liberal” about the reporting of news in the Record at all, and the editorial pages are similar to those in my local Gannett paper, which is to say, not liberal either.
    I’m wondering if what they’re seeing is an exodus of younger people from their circulation, so that the people they’re surveying are the people who either don’t see or don’t mind the conservative bias in the paper, or who see everything that could be construed as negative reporting of ANYTHING as a sign of “liberal bias.”
    It makes more sense than any other hypothesis.

  4. As the inestimable Stephen Colbert says ” Facts have a liberal bias.” Newspapers print facts, therefore newspapers ARE liberal.

  5. I’m sorry, but is there anyone who didn’t expect this drive for soulless conformism to come from a publisher namedStephen Borg?

  6. My quibble is that it’s often the publishers rather than the editorial staff that make these decisions. Our local paper has been worthless since we brought on a business guy as the publisher rather than somebody who has at least a working knowledge of journalism. Luckily, he’s been advanced to a bigger market. Poor him or poor them remains to be seen. It’s a liberal town with a relatively respected (nationally) paper and it will be entertaining to see what happens to it.
    Our paper has also uses its website more and has hired at least two eye-candy (young female) “journalists” of only modest writing talent to provide cheery video clips. In the meowy vernacular: Don’t want.

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