Tag Archives: media

Good news lead to more good news

Michael Massing lays out some of the key reasons for the declining news business in the New York Review of Books. The symptoms for classic print products in crisis are folding newspapers, cuts in publication frequency and, obviously, lay-offs. In a nutshell, it’s due to three main causes.

1) A massive drop in advertising volume due to the classic advertisers being in an economic crisis.

2) A collapse of ad rates since the internet has taken over much of the ad market.

3) Greed and mismanagement on the part of newspaper owners.

The solution is, simply speaking, to create online content that readers will be willing to pay for and thus either chip in for the news enterprise, or even buy a subscription, whether for online or print content. But all of that only works on one condition:

The prerequisite for establishing a pay-for-content model is good content—must-read content. It’s extremely important in the modern news business to be clear on what your comparative advantage is. If you want to be everything to everybody and spread your resources too thin, you’re going to get into trouble.

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Liebling I shrunk the editorial staff…

Between 1945 and 1963, A.J. Liebling wrote for “The Wayward Press” column in the weekly New Yorker Magazine. And much of what his pointed criticism of journalistic entrepreneurism attacked is still valid today, or valid again…

“The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role is to make money. The monopoly publisher’s reaction on being told that he ought to spend money on reporting distant events is therefore exactly that of the proprietor of a large, fat cow, who is told that he ought to enter her in a horse race.”

Peter Osnos wonders what Liebling would have to say about the current press crisis in the Atlantic.

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