Monday, October 13, 2008

Newspapers' Wounds Are Self-Inflicted

You already know this if you're reading this blog, but the idea that online media is killing the newspaper business because it doesn't spend time, effort, and money on integrity and responsibility and plane tickets to go get empty quotes from ballplayers about taking them one game at a time is utter hogwash. To the contrary, it's a straight business deal, and the fact that newspapers haven't adapted to the new reality is entirely their own fault.

That's the argument of Buzz Machine's Jeff Jarvis, anyway:

Paul Farhi of the Washington Post issues a resounding apologia for journalists in the American Journalism Review, arguing that the fall of newspapers isn’t their fault. Then Roy Greenslade leaps up with a resounding hear! hear! They echo a defense earlier this year from Adrian Monck (who had decreed, “The crops did not fail because we offended the gods”).

Though I respect these three men, I must call bullshit.

The fall of journalism is, indeed, journalists’ fault.

It is our fault that we did not see the change coming soon enough and ready our craft for the transition. It is our fault that we did not see and exploit — hell, we resisted — all the opportunities new media and new relationships with the public presented. It is our fault that we did not give adequate stewardship to journalism and left the business to the business people. It is our fault that we lost readers and squandered trust. It is our fault that we sat back and expected to be supported in the manner to which we had become accustomed by some unknown princely patron. Responsibility and blame are indeed ours.
He doesn't mention the sports media, but all of the arguments apply there as well.

Counterarguments can be found in the embedded links for those of you who really dig this meta-media stuff.

(link via Sullivan)


Jason @ IIATMS said...

another wonderful example of navel-gazing, eh CC?

Craig Calcaterra said...

I just can't help myself.

Pete Toms said...

I could care less that sports writers are losing their jobs and newspapers are sending fewer of them on the road.

Having said that, I find it interesting that during the market meltdown these past few weeks, the NY Times and Forbes saw their traffic spike big time. Maybe when the crap hits the fan we still want big media. Anyway, newspapers are still dead, at least the dead tree versions.

buddy said...

Media handling of the charges by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was even more peculiar. Most major news media stayed silent for nine or 10 days as the story of the charges spread over radio and the Internet. A few bloggers argued that this was an attempt by big-time media outlets to rule the Swifties' charges out of bounds.
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