Where the Money in Journalism Goes


It’s probably entirely self-defeating, but I can’t really bring
myself to care very much about new media, monetization, branding,
synergy, social media or whatnot when I look around at the wreckage
that a brief rash of contemptible mismanagement created in this city,
worsened by an economic crisis caused by similar financial

The ongoing troubles of the print industry tend to be accompanied by
prescriptions aimed at journalists and ad departments. Be more biased!
Be less biased! Learn multimedia! Aggregate! Learn computer-assisted
journalism! Practice branding! All of which is fine and good. But if
the end of these efforts is that whatever money the content producers
(and the salesmen who monetize it) are able to generate ends up in the
hands of upper management types who stand to earn bonuses outside their
already substantial salaries by yoking their companies to unpayable
debts . . . it’s hard to get enthusiastic about whatever bright new
stuff we create representing any kind of bright new future.

Why renovate the place if you’re constantly living in fear that the landlord’s going totorch it for the insurance money?

The suggestions are always aimed at the newsroom. It’s always “juggle the content around somehow” because the newsroom will actually feel responsible and carry out whatever instructions, whereas you tell the publisher what to do and he looks at you like you hit him in the face with a frozen fish. But if you do not market well and distribute sensibly it does not matter what content you’re putting out. And marketing and distribution take time and money, two things most higher-ups would rather spend on themselves and their friends.


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