I haven't posted in a while because, frankly, I got tired of repeating myself and because I'm more and more frustrated by the media industry's inability to make the fundamental changes in product, technology and business model that are needed for survival. The shift from traditional media to digital continues, inexorably slowly, and at this point I'd rather work to make it happen than yammer about it.
But others are saying smart things, and if anybody's still reading this blog, you should click over to these posts by a couple of the smarter people on the subject of the future of media:
- Judy Sims, continuing to fight the good fight against shortsighted newspaper executives and the lies they tell themselves (and employees and stockholders): Newspaper Execs: Still Denying, Still Crying and Still Lying to Themselves
- And John Paton, the smartest newspaper executive of all (mostly because he refuses to define himself as a newspaper exec), with a progress report on the massive changes he's pushing through at once-moribund Journal Register. (If you want the summary version of John's presentation, Matt Ingram has it here.)
Judy and John are saying (and doing) the things that I've been railing about for years. If you care about the future of journalism and the media business, you have to read and learn from them. They're telling the truth about what's happening and what desperately, urgently needs to happen.
As Judy says, "As [newspaper] execs dilly-dally with pay walls and iPad apps, I can only say that things are getting worse, not better."
And as John says: "What is painfully obvious to the outside world apparently is blind to many on the inside of our industry."
It's astonishing and frustrating, nearly 20 years into this revolution, that there aren't more John Patons running media companies, or that Judy Sims, like so many others, has fled the newspaper business in frustration with the slow pace of change. Or that Jim Brady had to bail out of TBD.com because of classic, tired old-media/new-media tensions and clashes.
Can't we just skip all this nonsense and get to the inevitable future? That's what smart people like Judy Sims, and John Paton, and Jeff Jarvis, and Jim Brady, and others are trying to invent. That's where the action is. And that's why I'd rather concentrate on trying to figure out how to make it happen than just keep ranting about it.
One more quote from John Paton:
Stop listening to Newspaper people.
We have had nearly 15 years to figure out the Web and as an industry we newspaper people are no good at it. No good at it at all.
Want to get good at it?
Then stop listening to the Newspaper people and start listening to the rest of the world.
And, I would point out, as we have done at JRC – put the Digital people in charge – of everything.
Find new voices and let them push you around.