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  • I'm CEO of Newspeg.com, a social news-sharing platform. I've spent 20 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies. You can read more about me here.

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« Still No Sale | Main | Doing the Math on Online Newspaper Subscriptions »

March 03, 2009

Comments

David Hinckley

Mark, I think it's unfair to say that any segment of conservativism to speak of is really rooting for journalism to fail. That would be undisputably bad for the country, and there are probably just as many loons on the left side as there are on the right who are rooting against America's well-being; it's a tiny minority in both cases.

We conservatives make up about half the country, and it's not lost on us that we only make up a minute fraction of journalists. It really is hard to make a case against the liberal bias in most of the large newspapers and TV stations, and it has been difficult for conservatives to watch the news of our time presented so consistantly for so long with a liberal slant to it. That being the case, conservatives have seen these publications as dishonest and are not sad to see their monopolies fail and their businesses in jeopardy.

We would be terrified if there was no alternative to take their place. But what will we get instead? A real marketplace of ideas online. Barriers to entry are gone, and if the old guard isn't there in the future, people will have to think forthemselves rather than trust a flawed source that presents itsself as infallible.

Personally, I am sad to see the old guard fall. I wish they had changed in the face of new technology. I believe the competition would have required them to move more to the political center anyway. But you know better than anyone that that isn't the way it happend.

[sober] The media is dead. [hopeful] Long live the new media.

Dan Woog

I'm not bright enough to figure out how the Law of Unintended Consequences will boomerang back to bust conservatives wishing for newspapers' demise in the butt, but it will. It's the law!

RaymondC

The biggest problem with the "old media" is that they are so in "in the tank" with the Democratic National Committee that all pretenses of objectivity are effectively gone. I miss dearly the days of the Abraham "A.M." Rosenthal, the managing editor of the New York Times during its last heyday from the late 1970's to late 1980's. He had a dictum of strictly keeping the editorializing out of stories, which made for great reading in those days. Is it small wonder why on his epitaph are printed these words: "He kept the paper straight"?

The newspapers of today desperately need managing editors of the Rosenthal model, because by "just reporting the facts" you don't end up offending a large fraction of the intended audience for these papers. We should leave the blatantly biased news to the supermarket tabloids, to say the least.

Don

What about left of center liberal progressives who hate newspapers as much as they hate Bush? Are they just too darned beautiful for any unintended consequences? Is that it Mr Woog?

RaymondC

Don, the new generation of liberals aren't reading newspapers anymore, either. They're now hanging out at web sites like Huffington Post and Daily Kos.

Fitzroyalty

Looking beyond US party politics and endless allegations of media bias, this is a world wide situation where commerical media companies continually reduce the quality of the services they offer then wonder why citizens no longer wish to pay to consume their products. There will be unintended consequences but in many instances the bland corporate worldview perpetuated by commercial media companies is pathetic in comparison to the diverse voices of the community channelled through social media. I know whose restaurant reviews I prefer - those of local bloggers. Bring it on.

Solitude

"In the FreeRepublic view of the media world, newspapers are dying–and should die–because they're inaccurate, too liberal and too arrogant."

You left out lazy, and incompetent.

This is not a view of the old media held only by those FreeRepublic people.

In article after article most journalists refuse to acknowledge that the unidirectional nature of dead tree information dissemination is unacceptable now that there is an alternative.

It is like some young professor at a university teaching all his classes with straight lectures, while the other professors teaching the same course bolster the material with class discussion and Q/A sessions. Eventually nobody signs up for his classes anymore.

Your product is information. Your distribution system for that product is no longer competitive.

No tenure for you, old media.

Walter Abbott

I'm Walter Abbott, from Ruston, LA. A couple of days ago you blogged about our frequently posted threads at FreeRepublic. com bulletin board. I maintain the "ping" or notification list for the threads and I post most of them. They chronicle the demise of the old or "dinosaur" media and we have been doing them for over three years. We talk about adverting trends, circulation declines, viewing and reading habits.

You said we "root" for the death of media outlets we view as liberally biased. That is accurate.

This morning (3/5) as I scan the journalism blogs (E&P, Romanesko, etc) and await the impending announcement of layoffs at the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, I find several stories about Jon Stewart's rant attacking Rick Santelli and CNBC. And I see you folks in the "journalism community" celebrating Stewart's efforts.

Have you people now become such cheerleaders for Obama that you help identify and target a new "enemies list?" Forty years ago when Richard Nixon targeted people who dared criticize his policies, you all in the Fifth Estate fell out with the vapors. You claimed you were "watchdogs" of corrupt government. Today, you have become part of the lynch mob and an agent of government.

So yes, we conservatives earnestly root for your death, metaphorically speaking. We've known for years there was no such thing as "impartial journalism." Citizens will do the jobs you all once did and do it better.

Django

"You'll see similar sentiments expressed at other conservative sites. It's nasty stuff."

Oh, please. That's like someone beating and mistreating a dog for years and years and years and then being surprised when it bites you. Or runs away, which is what moderate and conservative readership have done relative to newspapers.

It's amusing to see the death of newspapers laid 100% at the feet of the internet. Media people refuse to recognize the fact that they've made their product insulting and repellent to large segments of the population as being the main problem. "No, no, it's all because of the internet!" They'd rather go out of business than come down off of the pedestal on which they've placed themselves.

What's sadder and even more disturbing than the bias is the decline in critical thinking and the lack of what I guess you could call rebelliousness in the press. It is not even necessary to read a NY Times article on any given issue because it is already known to readers - left, right and center - what sort of politically correct lecture will be contained in the article. THAT is the really damaging consequence that follows when papers become nothing more than party organs instead of news sources.

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