Monday, June 15, 2009

More on the newspaper biz

A few random bits of food for thought. As we know, the old business model of newspapers is no longer workable, but while pundits consider new revenue models, I think you also have to consider what sot of people will go into the field at a time like this. There will always be people who want to write; the question is, what other skills must they now have, and how will they earn a living wage? After all, it's not like the pay was so hot before.

4 steps to newspapers’ survival
"The notion that government subsidies may be appropriate for the ailing newspaper industry — à la national health care — surfaced recently among faculty at Boston University’s College of Communications."

The article is too brief, but raises an interesting idea about government subsidies as well as the suggestion that only local newspapers will survive as print products, which I think has merit.

Will Amazon's Kindle Rescue Newspapers?
"It's no secret that [NYT publisher Arthur] Sulzberger has been talking to everyone about how to save the Times; he recently visited Silicon Valley and had a number of salon-style dinners with technocrats offering advice. Amazon's Kindle, however, has already proven to be a promising source of revenue for the newspaper."

Again, we have to get rid of the notion of "paper" and think of the "news business" without regard to the means of publication and distribution. Personally I'm on the fence about the Kindle as a viable alternative. It's too expensive and doesn't even do color yet. Maybe in a few years...

Can J-School be Saved?
"I'm convinced that if all the programs in journalism—undergrad and graduate—disappeared tomorrow, America's newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters wouldn't miss a beat of the news cycle. Our culture produces news junkies, English majors, aspiring novelists, sports nuts, failed lawyers, and student journalists in such profusion that we'll never run out of the green material from which to build excellent reporters and editors."

He's right -- no one needs a J-school education to learn how to be a journalist; it's all about networking (which is probably true of business school as well). I got an M.J. at UC Berkeley's journalism grad school. Did it help me get a job? I don't think so, but it did two other useful things: it gave me something to do after college when I had no job and was living at home, and it was also a blast and made me several lifelong friends.

Can Computer Nerds Save Journalism?
J-schools are including computer programming, and programmers are learning journalism.

1 comment:

rmmiles said...

Would be interested in your thoughts about the implications of government subsidies of newspapers. Care to offer a 500-word opinion piece?
RMM, edit30.com

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