Surely THIS Will Save Journalism


It’s easy to see why Apple favors the scheme. It gets a windfall of new revenue at a time when the decline in iPhone sales has made selling additional services a high priority. It gets to bring more high-quality publishers onto its platform, burnishing its reputation as a premium brand. And it gets to talk loudly about how much it loves journalism, as Apple vice president Eddy Cue did when announcing Apple’s acquisition of the subscription news app Texture last year. “We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users,” he said at the time.

Publishers, meanwhile, may need to hire new employees to manage the partnership, build the necessary product integrations, and address customer service issues. At a time when the industry is already laying off hundreds of journalists, asking them to build out their partnership and product teams in exchange for a potential revenue increase in the single digits appears laughable on its face.

Man, we are willing to do just about anything except take ad revenue and subscription money and spend it on journalism. We’ll spend it on pundits and cable-yellers, we’ll spend it on consultants and digital paradigm shifts and machine learning plans, we’ll spend it on rebrand after rebrand after rebrand, we’ll spend it developing spin-off companies within our news media company, we’ll spend it on hush money for victims of serial sexual harassers, we’ll spend it on developing software to write box scores for high school baseball games, we’ll spend it on real estate. We’ll spend it on glitter glue. We’ll spend it on regular glue.

Anything, ANYTHING, other than news.

It’s my forlorn hope that after the video pivot and the podcast boom and the hyperlocal experiments and the longform mega-wank and the Facebook bots and the Snapchat productions and the endless, endless, endless shitshow that is paywalls, publishers will just finally be so tired they’ll agree to do journalism. But the enthusiasm for this type of thing is just too stupid and predictable. Can a webinar be far behind?


3 thoughts on “Surely THIS Will Save Journalism

  1. Why should a newspapers be publicly traded corporations with stockholders? Why do they? None has ever made money by selling newspapers. It is a totally failed business model. In fact corporations are often a failed model of human organization to begin with.

    Their ubiquity as profit making enterprises, for people who own them but don’t work with or for them masks their total inadequacy in serving people. A fact that is ignored in favor of the only question ever asked. Why don’t they make more money or any money at all? People don’t actually enter into the discussion. It never will either. It’s over for people, the vast majority of them anyway. They just haven’t gotten the news. The papers won’t print it.

  2. Corporate journalism is overly about promoting the status quo which given the reality doesn’t require so much reportage as Allison implies. So no, not so much money is needed to expand newsrooms because the news that gets published and broadcast is, for the most part, bogus, so distorted that it’s little more than fiction. The giving Trump any credibility and reportage on the post-2008 economy and post-9/11 national security are big areas where mainstream reporting has deliberately failed. More reporters won’t help because the powers that be aren’t interested in honest reporting which is what requires additional staffing.
    Wish it was otherwise but, you know, I should live to see the day. Contrary to the media-promoted fantasy, the era of civil rights, Vietnam and Watergate was a huge anomaly.

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