I’ve watched the digital revolution from before the IBM PC. Technology forced changes in market after market — from giant linotype machines to desktop publishing, drafting tables to CAD systems, film to digital CCD. Each leap had one thing in common — the established companies hated the change. Kodak went bankrupt betting that digital photography would never be as good as film. Now it’s television’s turn. My family cut the cord years ago, but cord cutters are not the big problem. It’s my kids. They will never buy cable. The industry has a name for this — cord-nevers.
I found an article discussing Jim Lehrer’s — as in The Newshour with Jim Lehrer — rules for journalism. The PBS Column, Lehrer’s Rules discusses the voracity of these rules in today’s pile of mass media. It’s good reading, but the best part are the rules themselves. Every journalist should study these rules.
Reporting a meeting has to be one of the most boring assignments a reporter will ever have. It’s ironic because it’s also one of the most important jobs, too. City councils, school boards, state legislatures, congress all make decisions that affect our lives and spend our — the people’s — money. They make these decisions in meetings wrapped by agendas, filled with tedious procedure and painted in sermons of officialese. The reporter’s job is to distill these official riddles into plain English that everyone can understand.
Banner advertising is a complete failure. It is a paradox of diminishing returns that traps a web publisher into treading water — never making progress and always struggling to stay afloat. What’s worse is how web publishers will flail around with bad idea after bad idea to get ahead. Yet these insane advertisements do more harm than good, cause readers to leave and sink the publisher even more. It’s time to end the madness and recognize that the banner advertising model itself is broken.
The newspaper industry is trying to build pay walls around their online content. The idea is that readers need to pay for content. This is a big problem because newspaper executives don’t understand how much their readers already pay to be online. In fact, they pay more than any newspaper subscription in history.
An ad by the Newspaper Association of America states that “No amount of effort from local bloggers, non-profit news entities or TV news sources could match the depth and breadth of newspaper-produced content.” Wow! That’s insulting. What’s worse, it completely misunderstands what’s happening to the newspaper industry and why the printed page is destined to fail.
A wonderful story about why we need to Save The Presses! I think the best one is “You can shed a tear right now for the iconic ransom note, with letters clipped from newspaper headlines. What’s a kidnapper to do? Print out letters at home using different fonts and point sizes?”