Honestly, I think this is sheer wankery—any time you’re betting that
a new technology that doesn’t yet exist will save an industry via a new
business model that doesn’t yet exist, you’re probably wrong.

yet I find the idea kind of intriguing. There is something about the
lay-out of hard-copy papers that I prefer to online editions (even
though I mostly read online editions) and in some ways I prefer reading
theNYT on my iPhone to reading it online (I also like the Sportacular and Fandango Apps better than their online counterparts).

any of you think there is any way some kind of table device could
revive the print media industry?

No. There is absolutely no device that could revive the print media industry, for the very simple reason that the print media industry’s problems have nothing to do with print media. You could beam this shit directly into everybody’s head and the current crop of newspaper company execs in charge would still find a way to fuck it all up.

A new toy isn’t going to make up for a toxic aversion to marketing. This is the thing that makes me the craziest when starry-eyed tech-huffing n00bs to the debate start wittering on about how all we need to do is put everything on line and our costs will go down to NOTHING! Just like magic! That’s usually when I turn on the TV and wait for a web site commercial like the ones used to run every hour to air.

People don’t come to you just because you’re on the web. Audience retention online isn’t some kind of automatic. People think this, still, that you put up a web site and the money comes rolling in. And dude, I wish, but you still have to tell people where you are and convince them to check you out. That takes money, lots of it, up front and immediately, spent across any number of platforms where your readers might be found, money most media executives are incredibly unwilling to spend. They’d like to find some easier way, some tablet, some ‘net, some phone, some way around doing the work you’ve always had to do and will always have to do to build and engage readers.

I mean, these assholes still haven’t figured out that you sell advertising by pimping your readers’ attention to clients. For hundreds of years this has been true, but they still haven’t figured it out, and if they haven’t figured it out since Ben Fucking Franklin was setting type I don’t hold out much hope that they’ll be able to grasp it on this newfangled Interweb thingy, which most of them encounter only when a friend’s kid gets in trouble at school for posting her titties on The Myspace.

So no, I don’t think a device, real or imagined, can save the print media industry. If an industry pulling double-digit profit margins in the middle of a recession can’t save itself, it’s just rude to ask Steve Jobs to do it for them.


8 thoughts on “Saviors

  1. In my library world, remember when microfische was gonna replace print – freeing up all that space used to house books and journals? And electronic media was gonna mean libraries closed their doors (instead, patron counts went up).
    Or in the media, Radio was gonna replace newspapers. TV was gonna replace radio.

  2. Should have added to TV replacing radio and newspapers – 30 minute TV news can only give the first paragraph of the story. If you want analysis, detailed info, etc. ya gotta go to the print.
    Of course, that assumes the newspaper hasn’t gone the glamour-magazine route.

  3. Maple Street, that’s the problem — you can’t get the story from print anymore. The story plays out in thousands of small details over hundreds of web pages, and there are pieces of it everywhere. How do you get that onto a print page?

  4. Pansy,
    My local paper has a scant collection of comics, so I had to find places like and other web outlets for comics.

  5. The problem of newspapers/magazines isn’t the delivery by paper/print. It’s the non-content and the stupidity of columnists and reporters that people do not want to read anymore. Or they will read it on line and they want it free. The companies have to find ways to market their readers’ eyes to advertisers the same way they had to have them in print editions.
    I read a lot of material on line but I like to have a book to hold too, to read in bed, while traveling, etc. I haven’t tried an electronic reader and they might be okay for some things. However, I buy craft and art magazines because I like the format and the size of pictures and the colors. Having lost several hard drives and the materials saved on them, I want certain things on hard copy which I can save differently and keep for life.

  6. PurpleGirl needs a back-up system!
    Getting your headlines on your homepage lets you/me choose to read what interests us and search other sources for difference viewpoints on the subject instantly…and yes, for free.
    Aint nothin like reading a good novel before bed tho. Those Kindles look cool but it’s too much like downloading all your music to an ipod for me.

  7. the milw urinal(gone rite wing) has TWO pages of comics. tho took a few out i want. love teh internets. but at least got rid of that stupid duck one. need the estate sale listings too.

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