Newspaper Association Of America Complains That Comedian John Oliver Failed To Solve Newspaper Biz Model Problem

from the maybe-your-priorities-are-a-little-off dept

You may have seen that on Sunday, John Oliver's main bit this week was about the collapse of the local newspaper business.
It's a pretty typical John Oliver piece -- and definitely on a topic that we've discussed many times in the past -- media business models. However, we didn't see much of a need to write about it... until the Newspaper Association of America decided to whine about it, mainly complaining that Oliver (1) didn't offer any solutions and (2) mocked companies that are trying, no matter how ridiculous their efforts are:
However, other than encouraging people to "pay for" more news, he doesn't offer any answers. More particularly, he spends most of the piece making fun of publishers who are just trying to figure it out. Whatever you think of the name "tronc" and that company's announced growth strategy, at least they are trying new things and trying to figure out how to create great news journalism in the digital era. John Oliver doesn't seem to have any better ideas.

The fact is that we are in a transitional phase within the entire industry. People want, need and consume more hard news than they ever have. The core demand for the product isn't decreasing at all, and based upon that we will find our way to the far shore where the industry is thriving and growing once again. But in the meantime, there is going to be a lot of experimentation and evaluation of new business models. Some experiments will work and some won't, and our VP of Innovation, Michael MaLoon is committed to keeping you up-to-date on what is happening on that front. But making fun of experiments and pining away for days when classified ads and near-monopolistic positions in local ad markets funded journalism is pointless and ultimately harmful.

I would just ask Mr. Oliver to spend more time talking about what the future of news could be, and less time poking fun at publishers who are trying to get there.
This is pretty ridiculous. First of all, much of the mocking was over the Tribune Company's ridiculous rebranding as "tronc," and specifically the absolutely ridiculous "tronc employee video" the company put together, that I still am partially convinced is a parody of the kind of idiocy big newspapers put out these days to pretend they get technology. "Artificial intelligence!" "The future of journalism!" "Tech startup culture!" "Evolving, changing -- the fun part!" "Optimization group!" "Feed it into a funnel and then optimize it!" "Maximize all the time." "Monetize video!" "The role of tronc is to transform journalism -- from pixels to Pulitzers."
I mean, the video is inherently mockable. It's cringeworthy bad. I would have been disappointed if Oliver hadn't included it in his story. It's that bad.

And, really, despite the fact that we -- among many others -- have argued that Oliver and his team do real journalism at times -- at its core, his show is about comedy. Of course he's going to mock stupid stuff. Why shouldn't he? Expecting him to offer a "solution" is pretty silly. Whining about a comedian making fun of your failures to actually truly evolve seems like it should be fairly low down on the list of things the NAA should be focused on these days. If it's looking to comedians for solutions, and complaining when they don't provide any, perhaps the NAA itself should be spending a bit more time exploring how its members can evolve and adapt.

Filed Under: business models, complaints, john oliver, newspapers
Companies: naa, newspaper association of america


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 4:28pm

    tronc? Isn't that what you give to a dead horse so it doesn't feel anything when you flog it?

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    • icon
      The Groove Tiger (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 8:24am

      Re:

      It's the sound that your series of tubes make they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 4:33pm

    The real deal...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 4:36pm

    This is very paradoxical.

    An industry whose motto is "If it bleeds, it leads." now wants to create a peaceful and troncquil atmosphere?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killercool (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 4:37pm

    To broadly paraphrase someone insightful:

    Whaddaya mean, only criticize if I have a solution? I'm not a mechanic, but if my car is smoking, something is terribly wrong, and only an idiot will ignore it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 4:38pm

    Gee an out of touch industry that ignored things were changing, and expect others to fix their problems...
    Where have I seen this before??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 4:50pm

    You know when an industry is in trouble when they want comedians to give them business strategies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 6:05pm

    John Oliver did give a (partial) solution

    He was talking to the people who read news, rather than talking to newspapers. For the readers, paying more for news is a way that they can help support journalism. From the point of view of the newspapers though, he didn't offer a solution because he did not tell them how to encourage people to pay. The segment overall just examined the problem, which the newspaper industry already knows about, but the general public doesn't think about that much.

    Currently, the consumers paying more is the only solution. Getting billionaires to support the newspapers would lead to conflicts of interest, and getting governments to pay would be even worse. The only options left are the consumer pays, or the advertisers pay. Newspapers have for a long time relied on a mixture of these two sources of revenue, but now very few people are willing to pay for news and advertisers are also paying less.

    Advertising can be great to supplement revenue, but Internet advertising heavily encourages click-baiting. Internet ads pay so little, briefly mentioned in the show, that readers need to see a lot more ads for the paper to make money. The strategy of click-baiting is entirely built around quantity. The title is designed to get as many people as possible to read them, while the articles are short and simple so that people can quickly read them, then read another. Shallow content makes the most ad revenue while also costing the least amount of money to make. Longer pieces of content, like the clip of John Oliver above, just mean that people will watch it instead of ads for 19 minutes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 8 Aug 2016 @ 6:47pm

    The Real Truth About MSM

    The real reason for most of MSM's printed downfall lies in their absolute ignorance about their historic paying audiences. Few upper-middle and upper-class people ever buy printed media anymore. This is not only a fact, but the 10,000 pound elephant in the room. A great example is the National Geographic monthly magazine. 30-years ago, I used to keep a paid subscription, but by 1990, it had turned so abrasively 'liberal' and 'protective' in its nature, I quit subscribing. By 2000, newspapers had began to swing heavily liberal too, so I dropped the paper as well. This was readily supported at the time by massive drops in subscribers - basically, no one wanted to be force-fed liberal ideologies through a paid-for subscription. This single, simple reality has been intentionally ignored by most MSM papers and journals - knowingly falling-back to 'rich benefactors' to supplant their former subscription incomes. Well, when you turn to liberalism as a company goal, and then expect to keep making a profit, there's one thing you need to readily understand - the liberals don't pay for anything, and the conservatives aren't going to pay for liberalism, so line up your perpetual liberal rich-cronies before you think this is going to work.

    As for viewer media? Well, most liberals see TV as a farce in most instances, and most conservatives fast-forward through pre-recorded shows. Take away home recordings, and I personally turn the show off forever. Make everything liberal, and I don't turn the TV on at all.

    Funny, but Hollywood thinks they can steam-roller this idea of liberal social engineering on the masses, but when it comes to a paycheck, they still seem to pick up that Sig Sauer 9mm pistol as much as any NRA member would - wonder why? Because they know where their paychecks come from, it really is that simple after all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 3:51am

      Re: The Real Truth About MSM

      um, liberal media ? ? ?
      oooooo-kay, if you are so far to the right that obomber is counted as a 'liberal', then, yes, EVERYTHING is going to *seem* liberal to such a skewed worldview...
      BUT, if you actually look at the outcome of the media, you have no other conclusion than that it is overwhelmingly conservative in every meaningful way...
      ...or, you can just keep yelling 'liberal!' until you are hoarse...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 4:55am

      Re: The Real Truth About MSM

      I'm sure there are still some right wing fascist publications out there fer y'all. They might even sport a spread of cross burning and lynch rope knot competitions, ahhh the good 'ol days my friend. Sipping that mint julip while practicing your whip skills is so refreshing on a hot summer evening.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bshock, 9 Aug 2016 @ 7:22am

      Re: The Real Truth About MSM

      Um, yeah. Wouldn't it have just been shorter to write something like:

      Liberals are bad (for uncited reasons).

      MSM (which is clearly monolithic and homogenous) is too liberal now (again, no evidence needs to be cited for this).

      Therefore, MSM is bad (hah! a syllogism -- therefore, logic!)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        mockylock (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re: The Real Truth About MSM

        It has no political bias. I'm not for or against either side. The Washington Post is known for being a little more liberal bias and the times is conservative... it is what it is.

        You obviously only read that single part and judged based on that word. I still like the people who worked there, and I left because newsprint was failing.

        I'm sorry you felt that the word "liberal" marked out the rest of the comment. Wait... no, I'm really not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 10:36am

      Re: The Real Truth About MSM

      As others have observed: facts have a well-known liberal bias.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      J, 9 Aug 2016 @ 11:40am

      Re: The Real Truth About MSM

      I disagree with your premise that newspapers became more liberal around 2000 and that was a major reason why their circulation went down. I would guess that perhaps you changed. Their circulation went down because more people got their news from the internet and other sources more and more, but even bigger, as ad dollars started flowing to other mediums (inc the internet, but there was more and more tv available too), newspaper ad money dropped. And there were internet competitors that killed the classified ad business (craigslist).

      Magazine also started dropping circulation, and it wasn't because they went crazy liberal all of sudden.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ox, 8 Aug 2016 @ 7:03pm

    Anyone else notice the woman from the still image of the video having a stroke?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 7:55pm

    Play the Victim Card

    So now that media has hyped up the victimization of powerless groups they want a piece of the pity-pie. Nice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 5:01am

      Re: Play the Victim Card

      hyped up?
      victimization?
      pity?


      Wow, you got any more adjectives to express your slanted pov?

      Certainly the news of another murder by "law enforcement" is hyped up because .... reasons.

      Those murdered were simply playing victim because they want the pity?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 9:12pm

    The NAA has been given many solutions from many people on how to adapt and make money, they just choose not to listen cause it's not what they(or the wealthy owners) want to do or they can't accept the fact that one solution alone can't and won't solve everything.

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  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 9:54pm

    Oliver, problems, and failing to move forward

    The problem here is that both sides are right. Oliver is right pointing out all the various problems, but the print media types are also right pointing out that merely pointing and laughing isn't going to help find a solution.

    Like it or not, since the start of modern media, we have worked on a model of "advertiser pays" being the main income source. Yes, print paper and magazines have generally charged a token fee for their papers (usually enough to pay the newsstand and the distribution costs) but not much more. The real income has been made on advertising.

    TV and other media have generally worked the same way. Pay channels and pay per view have been the exception rather than the rule, and channels like HBO have done really well over the years with the model. However, even they can tell you that the internet, piracy, and the "digital leak" is slowly draining away subscribers and income. Some of them have moved to streaming and it's somewhat successful, but it's doubtful they will ever make it back to their peak days.

    Newspapers have no such fall back plan. Putting the news online isn't as cheap as we with it was, and with online ad rates being VERY low, they are put into the unhappy situation of having to load up every page with way too many ads, pop unders, and various forms of subscription models to try to make it pay out.

    The end result of this has been the rise of ad blockers, and now the arms race between ad blockers and ad disguisers. So they are forced into unfamiliar territory, and generally they fail there.

    The reality is simple: The internet has taught people (a) don't pay unless you absolutely, positively have to, and (b) blocking ads and other things that might help to pay for content is not only acceptable, it's "good for the internet". Since advertisers pay to be seen and are NOT being seen, they don't pay. Since people generally won't pay a subscription fee for content that is soon all over the place for free, they can't get it done there either.

    The end result is a stalemate. Most of the ideas tossed around to "save" the print media generally don't come with any true income stream, just a vague notion of being somehow "valuable" online. Big media companies aren't going to trade their content for a vague shot at being online famous. So the problem remains.

    My guess is that more print media outlets will fail, more "true" news sources will disappear, and the internet brand of insanely slanted opinion as news (started by Fox News, honestly) will win the day. People want to hear what they want to hear, they don't want the facts they want to be told they are right. It's one of the many reasons my posts are censored, moderated, and withheld here at Techdirt, because I say the things that most people don't want to deal with. We may have reached an interesting crossroads in the life of the internet where misinformation and self-congratulatory "journalism" will actually overwhelm the truth.

    Don't think so? You only have to check out Drudge and the whole "hillary cough" and "hillary health" and "#hillaryhealth" thing. It's not news, it's misrepresentation of situations and actions to create a fictional narrative that people buy into not because it's true, but because they want it to be true.

    Congrats people, you got the internet you always wanted!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 6:15pm

      Re: Oliver, problems, and failing to move forward

      What is your definition of a "true" news source? Mind linking to one?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bob, 9 Aug 2016 @ 9:21pm

      Re: Oliver, problems, and failing to move forward

      No the papers are not right. It is not a comedians job to save the journalism industry.

      If they don't like people mocking them then they need to either let the criticism roll off their backs or put forth better ideas.

      Getting all tronc-ed out of shape when a comedian points out legitimate points is very silly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 10:32am

      Re: Oliver, problems, and failing to move forward

      Journalism will be fine if it's what people want. But it's not entirely clear that enough people actually want journalism.

      It's one of the many reasons my posts are censored, moderated, and withheld here at Techdirt, because I say the things that most people don't want to deal with.

      Your post showed up just fine. You're giving yourself way too much credit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:16pm

    So they finally realize that they lost the news war to the comedians and are asking for help?

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  • icon
    K`Tetch (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:18pm

    I've seen all this up close and personal.

    My wife worked in newspapers for years, as the graphic artist setting the ads. She was paid less than the ad salespeople, despite the fact she had to have experience, qualifications, training, and then do a whole lot more work. Hell, the night before we got married, I ended up working on some of her stuff with her, so she'd get finished by 9pm, for a thrice-weekly paper (that folded last year after more than 120 years). Before ti folded it closed its print dept., outsourcing it ALL to a print company 70 miles away, and reducing the quality (and upping the errors) as well as making the paper less timely.

    It got so bad, a few of the people they fired started up their own competition paper, and once they got the 'legal organ' status, that was it for what was the area's oldest business, which shut its doors back in November.

    I've recently been paying attention to the replacement local paper the last 2-3 months. The articles have almost always been reprints, although how bad it was hadn't been apparent to me until this past week.
    Two months ago, the kids group I volunteer with (a non-discriminatory, non denominational version of scouting) had their first annual award/badge ceremony. My son took the group photo, and I sent the newspaper an email with it. Was told "it'll be in next week or the week after's". It ran this past week. The photo was badly done (over-saturated on ink) and the accompanying text was literally just a copy+paste from my email. Absolutely nothing more.

    The local sheriff's department ran a program where they took 60+ 6th graders to DC and toured the capital. It too ran almost 2 months later (I should also point out that the official photos from the the trip were sent to parents contained in two video files, overlaid with copyrighted music, no actual individual photos). Meanwhile most of the paper consists of what looks to be near verbatim copies of police reports. Oh, and sports. Because half the paper is literally high school sports (for this county and surroundings)

    Nowadays, no-one buys the paper, because the paper is shit. If the editor and publisher don't give a fuck (and in this case, the editor IS the main writer), why should anyone else?

    Right now I think they only exist because of the whole 'legal organ' (things like legal notices) thing and classifieds about yard sales and church bake sales. Tempted to start my own local paper, in competition.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:49pm

    Complaining about a lack of solutions is one thing, but whining about a comedian doing it? Mockery without providing solutions is the bread and butter of most, if not all comedians. What was the strategy or motivation driving this ingenious tactical statement? "I'm throwing a tantrum because someone who makes money making fun of people made fun of me"? Does the NAA want a diaper change?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:50pm

    "But making fun of experiments and pining away for days when classified ads and near-monopolistic positions in local ad markets funded journalism is pointless and ultimately harmful."

    So, it's pointless but still somehow manages to be harmful? Who would have thunk?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Cowherd, 9 Aug 2016 @ 1:37am

      Re:

      The correct word they're looking for is "funny."

      Their "experiments" will only stop being funny if they're successful. Asking people not to laugh only makes it funnier.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 8 Aug 2016 @ 11:23pm

    maybe a game where you take a shot every time a buzzword is said in that video

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 4:08am

    Competing with free for dummies

    Anyone can toss out personal opinions or report basic facts of what they've seen, where news agencies can add value, value that they can use to convince people to pay it to add extra.

    Provide background to the events, context to flesh out otherwise 'pointless' facts and bits of information, go the extra mile to really investigate the details, don't just focus on the 'obvious'.

    The problem(one of them anyway) that news agencies face, and that is giving them so much trouble is that they've spend so long taking the lazy path, going with the quick and easy stories and reporting, when they're not throwing out junk pieces that might interest people for a few minutes but nothing beyond that.

    All flash and no substance as it were, and people are increasingly getting tired of the equivalent of cheap tabloid 'reporting' and getting their news elsewhere. If they want to bring people back the first thing they need to do is realize that people have plenty of sources for quick and easy entertainment, leaving them hopelessly out-gunned in that field. Instead they need to focus on what they're in a position to be better at, more in-depth investigations and reporting, more details and depth.

    It might be too little too late for many of them at this point, but continuing with the same as before is a guarantee that they'll continue the downward spiral until they crash and burn, overtaken by those offering the same low level entertainment but without the financial requirements that they have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 4:36am

    God Is Dead. Next January his predecessor will take her oath of office. She will no doubt create another Hitler, Taliban, or ISIS for fear of the Russians. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. God would Damn America, but, God is Dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 4:38am

    "The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

    My irony meter just exploded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 5:07am

    Don't worry newspaper industry - the www is just a fad, it will fade away soon enough and you will have your monopoly back again ... LOL, no it won't Hahahahahaha

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 5:11am

    we're hip to their lies

    Bias and lies. That is what you get with the news these days. Why would anyone pay for that? When formerly trusted sources are so overtly biased they can no longer be trusted what good are they?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mat (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 6:00am

    Times have changed, greed hasn't.

    I used to work at a few newspapers, including The Washington Post/LA times conglomerate. I left the newsprint industry around 2007 when everything took a turn for the worse, and TWP started pinching pennies due to a massive SAP deployment that went on for nearly half a decade to that point. Yes, they were worth a lot, but management didn't notice the change ahead, and spent money on a product which wouldn't save much money for them, and was merely a convenience.

    With that said, their Olive solutions and online web management was in direct competition with NYT, waiting to see who would go full pay online. This is where all newspapers were having problems.... how do you provide news that people will pay for, if you have a plethora of news sites online for free?

    The answer lies in 2 different facets. By providing local news by zoning, which quite a few large paper companies do, or by providing news that nobody else has seen, first.

    The second part of that is where the problem lies. Small town newspaper companies are still a little stable because they provide local news. They'll pull their other stories from a syndicate without the need to fabricate, stretch, or exaggerate news based on their personal opinions. Not as much, of course.

    With larger beasts, you've got to come up with something to get people coming back. Though, if you try to stay even a bit balanced, you need to expand your distribution, like USA/Today, Gannett. For places like TWP, they've got to feed on emotion and beliefs such as liberal views. There's nothing wrong with that, but it ends up becoming a feeding ground for trash and dirty laundry... because that's what readers like. Anyone can make up conspiracy theories or read about a leak online, but if you can get it first and use it to your advantage with surgical precision, you can sell papers with that above the fold.

    It's all a competition behind the doors. Of course, you have the journalists who have been around for ages and continue to write articles based on the grand scheme of things, but the younger ones out of college who were the prime of their Podunk town, end up needing to be seen. They're the ones who dig up garbage and try to make a name for themselves. Unfortunately, this is what people feed on, and this is what their business model is based on. I've seen it first hand, and I've seen the streams filing in from AP, Reuters and others, to watch the reports dismantled from 8 pages to 2, with whatever info they feel benefits their cause.

    Why is it this way?

    Because the people who pay money for their product, want that type of garbage. It doesn't matter what kind of trash or opinion you have, if people buy it, someone will sell it. And that's why we have Clinton and Trump in line for presidency.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim, 9 Aug 2016 @ 6:19am

    Liberal?

    They, meaning newspapers had better be liberal. Remember, one of the oldest definitions of liberal means can read and write. Not they their is much in the papers except for conservative politics. And skewed viewpoints pointing toward ever more conservative viewpoints. Except for a few commentators, none are local, none are doing the local beats, covering the neighborhood news, but you can get the viewpoints of the latest fear. All expressed in the conservative language. How shameful, how droll.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mockylock (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 11:25am

      Re: Liberal?

      Liberal, as in the Washington post. "TWP"...

      Holy fuck, I've offended everyone on the internet by saying the "L" word... and it wasn't even in a harsh context.

      TWP is liberal, as with everyone I worked with. My point was newspapers in general have their own political bias if they want to get a targeted demographic. LATWP was just an example.

      Jesus fucking sensitive Christ.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    djl47 (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 8:13am

    The internet didn't kill newspapers

    In 1990 I used to read the SJ Mercury News while riding the train to work in SF. By 1995 I read the SF Examiner on a BART ride home from work. In both papers I noted a preponderance of wire sourced stories in the first section. The Examiner was mostly AP, Reuters and syndicated material from other news outlets. This outsourcing diluted their ability to develop their own stories and put newspapers in the coffin. The internet provided the nails.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 9:20am

      Re: The internet didn't kill newspapers

      This. I stopped paying as much attention to newspapers well before the internet became a reasonable alternative. The main reason was that consolidation resulted in a dramatic reduction the quality and amount of coverage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 9:39am

    Can't Bring Back The Past

    Although buggy whip sales are down, we are convinced in the inherent consumer demand for what we sell - people still want transportation from one place to the other, so the market for buggy whips MUST be out there. We just need to cross this difficult stretch of water, and find the way to package our product that meets the demand.

    "we will find our way to the far shore where the industry is thriving and growing once again"

    Meet in the middle. Technology. AI-assisted buggy whips. Other stuff. Loud noises. This is how we will achieve our goals.

    ...or NOT. Sometimes businesses just evolve, and that evolution can mean shrink or go away. It happens particularly fast to industries who lacked clarity about what their actual product was, and where their value was. The notion that they will "find our way to the far shore where the industry is thriving and growing again" is the kind of mistaken goal-setting that will result in failure. You can't go back to the way it was, no matter how much tech jargon you sling in your boardroom or your videos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 9:34pm

      Re: Can't Bring Back The Past

      Buggy whip sales aren't down, they are just not used on horses as much anymore.

      Can't bring back the past but you can repurpose it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 16 Aug 2016 @ 10:40am

      Re: Can't Bring Back The Past

      The notion that they will "find our way to the far shore where the industry is thriving and growing again" is the kind of mistaken goal-setting that will result in failure. You can't go back to the way it was, no matter how much tech jargon you sling in your boardroom or your videos.

      I read that as a goal of a healthy journalism industry that looks different than it used to, rather than trying to go back to the past. And that must be their goal. The alternative is "our goal is to go out of business as slowly as possible".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tronc, 9 Aug 2016 @ 11:15am

    RAAH!
    TRONC USE CONTENT OPTIMIZING FUNNEL!
    TRONC USE SMART MACHINE TO MAKE CONTENT!
    TRONC MAKE PIXEL INTO PULITZER!
    WHY EVERYONE LAUGH AT TRONC!?
    GAAARRRGGH!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 1:27pm

    Rich guy controlling the press is an old problem.

    None of this is new. Hearst's reign of yellow journalism, not only suppressing stories that featured his friends, but blatant-lie smear campaigns against his enemies is still a cliche mocked in children's cartoons.

    Then there's General Electric's vice-grip on the balls of the media during the cold war (GE paid well for advertising and to suppress stories from reaching the public ever, hence how little known it was the hilarious number of GE nukes the US deployed for fear of a USSR preemptive strike.)

    And we still have Rupert Murdoch and The Pravda Channel (I'm sorry, Fox News) which is so notoriously yellow that Jon Stewart made a third of his illustrious career pointing out how yellow it is. (Including his recent encore on the Tonight Show!)

    I call bullshit. Journalistic integrity has always been second to sensationalism and readership numbers. It's a luxury that has only been afforded after bills are paid. Sure we've had papers with policies of integrity, some good journalists and some great stories. But we've never had an era or clime in which journalistic integrity was a reliable mainstay. Maybe we've had times where the corruption and bias was most revealed in the stories that did not see the light of print, which made it harder to see.

    The internet age is a disruption to the age of printed newspapers, and really, the standard has always been low enough so any change is a good gamble that things might get better.

    As for me, I lost confidence in the US mainstream media long before I had the internet to confirm what stories were multi-sourced, and what stories were a single article from a single op-ed periodical. The internet not only allowed me to fact-check, but also gave me news about topics that were not typically covered before.

    Intellectual Property overreach, police brutality and our completely corrupt justice system, for three, all especially terrible since it's evident they were all happening my entire life, whether or not anyone reported on them. The age of internet news may not be great for the classic investigative journalist, but it has shown to be pretty solid for hacker-dumps and end-user video coverage.

    So yeah. Disruption.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 9:54pm

    I stopped following mainstream media news when it became obvious that they where very slanted (as opposed to "biased") and had no interest in fact checking - and this was long before the "internet" was actually a useful thing to most people (other than email). Once the internet developed sufficiently, I used it to do my own fact checking on what little news I would accept, and that only proved just how bad the mainstream sources were.
    Bias I expect; people writing the stories have their own feelings about it - this is being human. Allowing that bias to slant the story is a totally different matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 10 Aug 2016 @ 9:29pm

    John Oliver != Journalist

    I don't know if it's in the clip uploaded (it is blocked in my country)...

    I did watch the whole episode earlier and John specifically notes that he is not a journalist, and feels bad when other media publications call him a journalist.

    For what it's worth, I believe that his show is definitely a form of journalism. It's primarily comedy, but the subject matter is definitely newsworthy. His team of researchers do a great job condensing a complicated issue down to an entertaining segment and I certainly consume it as one of my news sources.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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