Yesterday, as part of an Internet Week New York panel entitled, “The Future of Media”, USA TODAY’s editor-in-chief, David Callaway, was quoted as saying that the newspaper could stop publishing as a daily print product in the next “five or six years”.
I guess it’s not surprising.
And it’s not surprising simply because print media is on the downswing.
That’s the excuse of losers.
The excuse of hand-wringers who have no idea what to do. The excuse of the unimaginative. The excuse of those who don’t have the thrill of challenges & of competition coursing through their bloodstreams.
The excuse of people who buy into the notion that ‘it just can’t be done’.
The excuse of big corporations run by bean-counters.
And that notion that print is dying is, again, a straw man.
Oh, to be certain, for the most part, it is.
No imagination. No competitive spirit. No drive.
People WILL buy pieces of paper with stuff printed on it.
But only if they feel they can’t live without it or it adds an important, welcome addition to their lives.
If you give people something they can’t possibly get anywhere else, they’ll flock to your door. At least millions will & that’s all that’s necessary.
You know, I would accept, from these people, “We just don’t feel like putting out a print paper anymore.” I would accept, “We are taking this opportunity to be the slackasses we have always wanted to be, and fire a bunch of people who do work we don’t understand, because we don’t give a flying fuck anymore.” I would accept that, because it would be the truth.
But don’t give me “kids don’t read” or “everybody gets their news online now” or “print is dying” or “hurr durr digital paradigm.” Don’t lie to me. You don’t want to be an online publication — if you did, you’d be one already. You barely know what the Internet IS. You want to be lazy and you want to be cheap, and you want to do something everybody else is doing because it looks like a shitload of fun and easy money. Which it probably is, if you are Gawker or something.
Everything that somebody else is doing looks like fun and money. You know why? Because you’re not the one up all night getting an ulcer and a mild case of alcoholism doing it. You’re not the one drowning every voice in your head in scotch so you can keep being right and they can keep being wrong and you can keep going broke and they can keep getting rich. Almost no one thinks their own job is fun.
The readers are out there, the customers are out there, and the sales — yes, the sales — are out there, but you have to actually get up in the morning and do a job to get all of those things. It would require shutting the fuck up for a minute about everybody else who done you wrong. It would require quitting your subscription to the trades and letting go of all the consultants who have helped over the years precisely nobody. It would require trusting yourself, and the people around you, and yes, trusting your readers as well.
Plus, I mean, you don’t know your own industry. You had 200 years to learn to newspaper and you let it all go in two decades of unprecedented greed and scorn for your customers. You want people should trust you with another business now? When you’re out there saying, “Our major product … we figure in five or six years it’ll be obsolete and what we’ll do then … who knows, fuckers?”