29
Jun
09

Links for today | Links para hoje


Today I witnessed the ultimate death of my newspapers.
The money hungry whores who pay themselves vastly inflated salaries to run this company have signed the death warrant and now it is just a matter of time before the advertisers carry out their wishes.
In their infinite wisdom, my so-called bosses decided to reduce pagination over summer in order to cut costs. So far so sensible. It is a season where newspapers are always likely to make a loss. I expected to lose a few editorial pages as part of this drop in size and was actually looking forward to taking the foot off the gas a little and having a bit of fun.
The plans for my new editions landed on my desk this morning and to be honest I felt like walking out there and then.
Instead of a few back of the book pages being dropped, the fucktards in charge have fundamentally destroyed the layout of my papers.

Here is what an insanely great Web product looks like to the average user right now and through the next 3 years:

  • 30 seconds: “I get it.”
  • 3 minutes: “I’ve used it and still get it, and it has not annoyed me yet.”
  • 3 days: “I find this really useful or fun.”
  • 3 weeks: “I am raving about this to other people.”
  • 3 months: “I couldn’t imagine not having this, and I’m boring my friends telling them about it.”
  • 3 years: “How weird to see this on Oprah.”

One of the common responses to such entreaties is exemplified in this comment, which includes this plea: “I understand the need to bolster one’s skill set. But what happened to the days when we actually, you know, worried about reporting rather than slavishly trying to master every piece of technology?”

If only that was the real problem.

Stop thinking of your Web site as the online newspaper. It is it’s own, an entity with more power to engage and retain your readers than any medium in history. By the time I’ve visited your site a second time, it should already know what stories I like to read and it should be serving those up to me — without my asking. Make what I want not easy to find, but impossible to miss. The internet can do that, you know.

This question keeps getting asked in various ways: “What if you just stopped printing the newspaper and went online-only? How many people would you need, what would your costs be, and could you earn enough revenue to make a profit?”

It’s not necessarily the right question, because there’s still life left in print. An online-print hybrid, with one or two days a week of printed distribution tied to a strong digital publishing operation, is probably a much better solution than online-only.

Print journalism today, and by that I mean daily newspapers, stands at a bloody crossroads. Those who practice it must come to grips with realities, such as all the whys behind the decline in readership, thus circulation, and not continue to espouse their personal agendas, or show favoritism to their ideological pals. (And by all means, they ought to stop slobbering over their Man in the White House. Enough already!)

Yes, it’s a crackpot theory, I realize, that the prime function of journalism is to inform the public impartially, without fear or favor. Color me naive. Casting that delusion aside, journalism suffers today from chronic, life-threatening credibility gaps amidst plummeting daily circulations. Result: Cutbacks, suspended publication, bankruptcy for some. Some wags might say fine, good riddance, but the loss of daily newspapers plainly sucks. It leaves a hole in the ether of how and where we get our news, however mangled or tainted.


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