The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Will Reinvent for the Digital Unknown Future Market Conditions Via Online!

What a load of horseshit: 

“It’s the year 2018, and with the way people review and expect to review information and news, we think we’re doing the right thing,” said Keith Wilkowski, vice president of legal and government affairs for Block Communications Inc., the company based in Toledo, Ohio, that owns the Post-Gazette, on June 27.

“We will be publishing a (digital) newspaper seven days a week,” Wilkowski added. “And, frankly, we reach more people via online than through the print publication.”

It’s the year 2018, and we’ve spent three decades devaluing the print product to make a short-term profit. We reach more people ‘via online’ because we did that on purpose. You don’t need union drivers to deliver ‘the online’ and we can pay journalists peanuts anyway, we always have. 

There, fixed that corporatespeak buzzword-salad for you. WE REACH MORE PEOPLE VIA ONLINE, says the professional word person who works with words, while chiding his customers for not getting with the newfangled internet in the year 2018. Via online. For fucking fuck’s sake.

You reach more RICH people “via online,” is what this human conference call is trying to say. You reach more people who can afford to get their news “via online,” and the people who would have spent 50 cents on your paper or picked it up off your porch, well, fuck ’em, basically.

The reason this line keeps working, though is that reporters, who should be asking hard questions of ambulatory audits like Wilkowski, keep letting him and other corporate raiders lay the blame at the internet’s door:

The print side of newspapers has continued struggling to stay afloat as free and more convenient digital options are readily available for consumers.

This is presented as a fact and intended to imply causation, when in truth “the print side of newspapers has continued struggling to stay afloat as hedge fund owners load papers up with debt and then justify their existence with layoffs and nobody saved anything from the early 2000s when profit margins were 17 percent or more.” I get that’s longer, but this is a story that is “via online” and therefore there is no word count limit, get it right.

The actual story the Post-Gazette is running to celebrate its chickenfucking is even worse than that Hill piece up above. I mean:

By eliminating two days of print the week of Aug. 26 and undertaking a full-throttle commitment to the digital delivery of news, the Post-Gazette is reflecting Pittsburgh’s own transformation from traditional manufacturing into a high-tech center — even as the PG acknowledges that its future, like that of other legacy news organizations, must become untethered from the delivery mechanisms of the past if it is to survive in the digital future.

Can you un-tether yourself from run-on sentences? Jesus, did no one teach this newspaperman how to write for a newspaper? And “its future must become untethered if it’s to survive the future?” I’ve watched time-travel episodes of basic cable sci-fi that made more fucking sense.

I would pay $100 in cash to the journalist who got this guy to explain what he thinks the “digital future” even IS.

“Why are we doing this?” Mr. Block asked. ‘’Print is going away. If you project even five years into the future you cannot imagine there’s a print business that will be vibrant nationally or internationally. We have to acknowledge what is happening. It’s time to put our great digital players fully into the game.’’

The death of the New York Times has been predicted every single year since I was in college and I was in college 22 years ago. Five years from now everybody in the Post offices call up this guy and wish him a happy anniversary of the dumbest prediction ever.

And why were your “great digital players” sitting on your goddamn bench til now? Were the distro guys too busy delivering the paper to update the website? I’m confused as to how this was supposed to work. None of these idiots can ever explain why it’s impossible to have a great newspaper and a great digital news operation within the same company. None of them.

Print is not “going away.” It’s being driven off in favor of cheaper options. You do you, Mr. Owner-Man, but don’t pretend it’s anything else. Throughout the piece it’s blindingly clear this guy and his lickspittles have no fucking clue at all:

He added that the PG’s digital roadmap is not set in concrete but “will be adjusted according to competitive and market conditions.’’

Never set any kind of roadmap in concrete, first of all. Second, if you have no idea how to do this, why are you doing it? Why not make a plan, instead of endlessly flapping about in response to “market conditions?” Why not decide what you’re going to do and do it? Like, before you yell at the top of your lungs that you have no clue.

“We’re going to give this business the best college try,’’ said Mr. Block. “What we are doing is re-inventing the PG for the future.’’

You just admitted you don’t know what the future is. How can you reinvent the PG for a future you can’t define?

But hey, you’re going to give it a whack! Take 200-plus years of brand loyalty and market identity, go to Vegas, and put it all on black. Great idea. That’s never, in history, for anybody, gone wrong.

Then again, this is via online. It could reinvent for the future!


2 thoughts on “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Will Reinvent for the Digital Unknown Future Market Conditions Via Online!

  1. Thank you for the many valid points and observant critique! (you’ll call me an old phogey– I was uncomfortable with the curse words)

  2. Athenae, Your comments are spot on. First the PG tries to endorse Trump. THIS in a paper that for over 230 years led from the left. In my opinion, John Robinson Block, owner and publisher, is trying to kill the paper. I can now only get it online since my home delivery was cut off as were other’s. The news stand price is $3.00 per issue!!!!! And it is not free as was claimed. The digital app is just horrendous. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t plus the fact that there are often pages in a row that are blank. And, I guess you knew that the PG’s editorial cartoonist, Rob Rogers, was fired for being too anti-Trump. It saddens me to see that this paper, that I have read all my life (I’m 79!), and has existed for over 230 years (First Newspaper West of the Alleghennies) is being trashed by Block’s alt right shit and big business crap! Kudos on a great article! We love you in Pittsburgh! Many thanks for writing your article!

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