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The Shrinking Newsholes: A Special Encore Performance


 

Where would you expect an industry buffeted by technological change to make headlines? Detroit, of course, and indeed it is so this weekend. But I’m not talking about the car industry, I’m talking about my own: The Detroit News and Free Press are considering a novel response to free-falling circulation: stop even bothering to try to deliver the paper on most days. Other news about the newspapers, which may help explain why you haven’t been seeing much news in a lot of newspapers:

Our own situation is better, but Maclean’s did lay off six of our friends and colleagues last week because the bosses anticipate a bad year across the industry for ad sales. (Chris Selley landed here, for the many who miss him here.) The boss tells a magazine-industry website (which used to be a print magazine until the industry slump killed it earlier this fall) essentially what he tells us: Maclean’s has done extraordinarily well compared to most of the industry, but our gravity-defying act is imperfect in an environment of general slump.

Assorted schools of thought hold that blogs will fill the holes left by all of this. I won’t quarrel. If you think the problem is that the mainstream media are too squishy and socialist, you will have company over at Small Dead Animals. If you think we are too capitalist and corporate, Bigcitylib waits to welcome you. If you’re less convinced that a handful of industrious bloggers can begin to fill the gap that’s left when a great city like Detroit loses any semblance of daily newspaper reporting, then I’m afraid I don’t have an awful lot of reassuring news for you, but if it’s any consolation I agree completely.


 
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The Shrinking Newsholes: A Special Encore Performance

  1. Paul, I missed MegaPundit, without realizing Chris was lost to Macleans for good. Thank you for the pointer to Full Pundit. Something to bring my browsing back to the Post from time to time.

    While I myself am “less convinced that a handful of industrious bloggers can begin to fill the gap that’s left when a great city like Detroit loses any semblance of daily newspaper reporting,” I am heartened when a resource (like, oh, say, Macleans) does what it can to embrace the new technology, while continuing to earn its relevance with quality reporting and analysis. Many of us don’t “do” dead-tree anymore, so your web presence matters, and makes you matter. I hope this pair of eyeballs is of some revenue-generation use to your outfit.

  2. Ironically we just got a subscription to the paper last week. We were reluctant – it’s not the money, it’s just the perception that we would have a stack of old papers to get rid of every week. I don’t like the way it makes my hands dirty (literally, not metaphorically) and I tend to go straight to the computer. But my wife reads it.

    I think that newspapers have a value beyond the income they generate. Mark Twain’s adage about picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel is still true, and especially in cities, headlines influence opinions, even for people who don’t buy the paper. Still, electronic billboards would be cheaper.

    I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I appreciate it when someone takes the time to put their thoughts down in a coherent manner, to meet a deadline, with the oversight of an editor, and quite often at the risk of life and limb.

    I salute the effort you make and I thank you for your contribution to freedom of expression in difficult times.

  3. Reporting will never disappear completely, because the investigative aspect of reporting is not something that a typical blogger will be willing to do. Reporting takes time and effort.

    Additionally, the fact that words printed on paper is far more portable than any laptop will ever be, that means that the printed word will never go away completely either.

    But the industry will change, it will consolidate, as the new media allows information to be dispensed electronically worldwide at low cost. There will be intense competition as the industry consolidates into fewer players. The best players will rise to the top. We are seeing this already, with sites like espn.com taking a stranglehold on sports coverage. In the end, content is key.

    When it comes to smalldeadanimals, it is simply an acknowledgement that the new media allows opinions from anyone with something to say. Published opinions are not restricted to those employed by media companies, and therefore the news can no longer be presented with consistent bias and slant, without the risk of alienated customers turning elsewhere.

    That’s my spiel about it. Exactly what we will end up with in the media in the future is difficult to predict, but changes are coming.

  4. And what if we take neither a Small Dead Animals approach to the mainstream media, nor see it as too “capitalist”? Are only partisan reactionaries allowed to find the performance of big media outlets deeply unsatisfying? It must be wonderful to ignore a.) the extreme aversion to innovation exhibited by print outlets from the mid-1990s til about late last year when newspapers were still firewalled online and b.) the fact that Mark Steyn is one of your co-workers.

    The uselessness of Time magazine has little to do with its ideology, but rather with how utterly conventional it is. Newsweek’s laying people off? Cool. The first person to be laid off should be Jon Meacham. He is tone-deaf to the modern audience, as demonstrated by his rant to j-school students about Newsweek’s merits relative to The Economist a few months back. And that’s just the U.S. print media, which looks sophisticated and forward-looking compared to the options Canadians have. With attitudes like these, I don’t the question is whether bloggers can fill the gap, but whether there even is a gap to be filled that has any relevance to the public discourse.

  5. Interesting dilemma. I read three newspapers each day, one local and the two nationals, because 1) I love sitting around in the morning reading “the paper” and 2) I know that one of them will get me pissed off enough to get my adrenaline going for the day.
    Paul, Which newspapers/magazines are doing OK and which are not. Is it a North American thing, a high end versus rag thing or are all countries suffering equally. i agree the blogosphere is a great supplement and even sometimes a correcter of the MSM biases, however I don’t see how it can survive without the basic news outlets out there.

  6. I’ll be honest, I’m a longtime subscriber of Macleans, but I don’t even read the magazine anymore. Who has time?

    I do spend a ridiculous amount of time here, much more than I ever used to spend with the magazine. So, I keep my subscription because I want them to keep paying you folks to keep doing what you do!

  7. What I love so much about dB is how cheerful he is all the time.

  8. The term ‘newshole’ seems profane in some vaguely obscene sort of way. Like if somebody called me a ‘newshole’, I’d be offended, but wouldn’t know why.

  9. Raging ranter, you are a newshole, for filling a content thread with off topic comments.

  10. This is the definition I sent in to urban dictionary:

    A person who destroys a vaguely interesting online thread by filling space with off-topic comments. Similar to creating a tangent with a black hole attached. No other commentators take the bait.

  11. For Canadians like me who currently live in Japan, I’m just glad we can access online publications like Macleans. I know that the New York Times tried to charge for access to content and later gave up, but the industry is going to have to find ways to recover costs, whether thru ads, or subscriptions. The good thing (except for the Canadian newsprint industry) about building an online subscription base is that delivery and newsprint costs are virtually non-existant.

  12. Bloggers filling the gap? They have to get their info from somewhere.

    This is disturbing and I surely owe media a huge apology. I didn’t realize it was getting this bad.

    Do you think 24 hour cable news has had an effect?

    I live in a small town and I get the local paper which is pretty much a waste of time and expensive for a few pages of local stuff. But I do it because of the people working there. Any job losses in my community are devastating and I try to support the best I can. There are journalists, photographers, etc. that would lose their jobs. Letters to the editor can get interesting, if nothing else. A well known conservative leaning newspaper chain has taken ownership of the paper and I dediced that any newspaper that is extremely bias one way or the other will not get my money. I have to say they’ve been pretty balanced so far. Personally, I want a paper that’s very left or very right – I want fair and balanced and in Canada there isn’t much of that.

    What future is there for kids wanting to study journalism.

    I just realized I’m babbling – it’s 4:30 in the morning. I think the pain pills are making me a little silly these days.

    Imagine 4:30 a.m. and Paul Wells has a blog out already.

  13. “I want a paper that’s very left or very right – I want fair and balanced and in Canada there isn’t much of that.”

    Whoops – I meant to say “don’t want a paper that’s very left or right”.

  14. You forgot to mention NY Times mortgaging it’s HQ last week. But I guess all will be just fine over at the NYT when/if they fire Kristol because it’s clear to many libs that he’s the only problem at the gray lady worth talking about.

    I think many newspapers will disappear but a few local, and national, ones will survive to continue reporting on the news. People are news junkies so they won’t disappear entirely.

    I also think sales could rebound if publishers/editors ever decide to really try and fix their problems. I don’t think there is an easy solution but North American papers, at least, don’t even appear to be trying anymore. I wonder why the UK newspaper scene is healthy, at least compared to North America? Why don’t owners really try and shake up their organizations and see what happens? I read lots of stories fretting about the future of newspapers but no one seems to be really doing much about their decline. For the most part, I find North American papers stultifying, they need to be shaken up with new ways and ideas.

  15. The freebie newspapers are probably not helping. I’m in Montreal, and you can’t board a metro, train or bus without at least half the people reading either 24 or Metro, the two free papers here.

    When people see a quick, short, free newspaper that they can read, they wonder why they should spend money on the Gazette or La Presse. I think most people prefer that a news event can be summarised in 2 paragraphs at most, whereas a conventional newspaper would dedicate much more space, as well as opinions, photos, letters etc on the same subject.

    I’m not defending the free papers. I find their mentality discouraging: “Something important happened yesterday? Oh, just give me the 10 second version, because I’m in a hurry and can’t be bothered.” Perhaps it’s a product of our time?

  16. Thanks for the clarification, Sandi.

    I’m with Dave, and I find that very interesting. I do read my Maclean’s subscription, mostly, most of the time–but it’s fairly new. Also, I get it electronically. I absolutely do not sit down with a newspaper or magazine, ever. And I am one who likes to read.

    So, the difference between the magazine itself and here is we get to talk back here. We also get to hear our favourite journalists thoughts in between the magazine column. But the magazine is where all the research and investigation is done–as is obvious by articles such as “inside a Crisis that shook the Nation”. And I think we need both, which is what makes these particular blogs so much more valuable (to me) than the others mentioned. But we tend to comment more here on the blogs than we do the magazine articles, also posted here. Is that because we are also talking to each other here, moreso than we are talking to the columnist?

    Does any of this have anything to do with why Macleans has done better than some in recent months? Or is the difference solely between magazine print vs. newsprint and weekly vs. daily? Do Dave and I represent a trend?

  17. Macleans online is easier to navigate, more convienent and timely than the magazine. I’m a reader, one of those people who used to return home on Saturday mornings with twenty pounds of newsprint to enjoy. Now I subscribe to the New Yorker, read the New York Times online and, less and less often, pick up the Globe. I used to have CBC radio on in the background, in the kitchen and the car, but now don’t bother. It’s not unlike the auto industry, those in the media that have failed to reinvest and reinvent will die. I stick with the print version of The New Yorker because the larger pieces don’t lend themselves to being easily read off a screen. Consumers of news media are looking for content. Build it and they will come. Try to pass off celebrity fluff and ads as content and your audience will abandon you.

  18. Content rules. That’s why Maclean’s is doing well and some of these other places are not.

  19. The advantages of print media are portability, readability (without strain) and low cost. Certainly content is an issue though not connected to delivery. As soon as truly portable devices mature and are affordable, print media will likely disappear except as a nostalgic artifact for collectors and history buffs.

    As with all change, the transition can painful, disruptive or both — as it probably is for the Chris Selley’s of the industry. (Loyal readers will find talented people like Chris who will survive in spite of upheaval and be better for it.)

    As to content, notwithstanding the realities of evolutionary change, print media today has become a kind of hybrid. A ‘town crier’ combined with a ‘carny shill’ filled with column inches of pure dross. Electronic media likely will not eliminate the dross, but might make it easier to ignore.

    And that brings me to my final point — media professionals of all stripes need to evolve along with the medium, and that means finding new ways to support their industry that do not burden their ‘town crier’ characters with the trash that makes them look like the chronically homeless.

  20. I wonder why the newspaper owners do not consider publishing less often? Maybe even as infrequently as once-a-week.

    Sure you’ll be conceding the news-of-the-minute ground to the internet and to cable tv (although that battle is largely lost anyway), but then they could concentrate on what they do best (in theory at least): investigative reporting, more thoughtful analysis, etc.

    Trade in quantity for quality. It may even improve the quality of life of harried journalists.

  21. Mike514 – I despise those cheap free papers. I don’t even think they should be categorized as journalism. They are definitely part of the problem.

  22. edeast,

    A person who destroys a vaguely interesting online thread by filling space with off-topic comments. Similar to creating a tangent with a black hole attached. No other commentators take the bait.

    I defend Raging Ranter’s right to be a ‘newshole’ if he wants — he is NOT BTW. And your post IS off-topic.

    Nyah.

  23. “You forgot to mention NY Times mortgaging it’s HQ last week. But I guess all will be just fine over at the NYT”

    The NYT Co. will be fine – for a newspaper company the balance sheet is quite strong (though that could be considered damning with faint praise) – but there are some cash flow issues. All the dividends they’ve paid out in the last few years probably weren’t the best mood in hindsight.

    For what it’s worth the NYT Co. has never, ever told me what position I could take on an issue – but admittedly I’m a peon freelancer in the online division, so I’m about as below the radar as you can get.

  24. “you can’t board a metro, train or bus without at least half the people reading either 24 or Metro”

    Mike514, Jean P

    If Mike is accurate in his description, why is giving people what they want a problem? Also, competition is a good thing because it should make the regular newspaper raise their game a bit but that doesn’t appear to be happening. There appears to be lots of bleating about the decline of newspaper but publishers/ editors don’t seem to be doing much otherwise to reinvigorate their product. it’s like they have accepted their fate and aren’t fighting back.

  25. If you want to see where journalism MIGHT be going check out Voices of San Diego, MinnPost, and the St. Louis Beacon, or read the NYT article about them. These are basically web publications that started out that way (ie were never paper publications). They do local news, and employ maybe a dozen people.

    Sandi is right; 95% of blogging is opinionating on other people’s news stories. It is actually quite difficult to FIND news on your own (and some of us try). Also, until some kind of blogging insurance comes into effect, then the legal risks of aggressive reporting are prohibitive for your typical blogger. Also, unlike Wells, nobody is wllling to fly ME to Paris to spend 8 months eating snails.

    It would be kind of neat to see journalism turn into what some people theorized Napster would do for the music industry–ie that it would become artist rather than label based. I would like to be able to read the articles I like without having to deal with the publications I don’t like. Maybe an aggregator something like Nation Newswatch is the future.

  26. Mike Moffat,

    I really do not wish to offend edeast, or trivialize your blog, but I do have an answer to your update on the Canadian Auto Industry bailout:

    “What the Canadian government does with the $XX billion is really up to them. Some assistance to existing auto workers is an obvious option.”

    Give it to Ed Stelmach to prop up lagging investment in the tar sands?

  27. bigcitylib,

    That Napster idea is brilliant. Did you come up with it alone? If so you should have patented it before sharing.

  28. “Give it to Ed Stelmach to prop up lagging investment in the tar sands?”

    I said a couple weeks ago that if oil stays $40 and below, the tar sands will be the next group asking to get bailed out… and I can’t see how the Feds can say ‘no’ without harming national unity. Which is why I have to agree with Andrew Coyne – an auto industry bailout sets a horrible precedent.

  29. Mike Moffat,

    Yeah, talk about ‘moral hazard’ and the ‘horns of a dilemma’.

  30. jwl – “giving people what they want a problem” is not a problem, the question is WHY do people want that garbage in the first place? i think its a sign of declining literacy (actual literacy and democratic literacy) in our society.

  31. Jean Proulx,

    A lot of people are time starved and find it prohibitive to spend $1.50 on a paper they cannot finish during a transit commute. That way they get their news, the distraction they need to bear the crappy underfunded urban mass transit experience, and all at no additional cost.

    I suppose it could be argued that taking the car and tossing the newsprint might have equivalent negative effect on the environment, but I won’t go there. Orange u glad?

  32. archangel,

    (a) your post suggests that these free publications are some kind of substitute or replacement for real newspapers. have to disagree with you there.

    (b) if people want a distraction and cannot afford 1.50 for a newspaper then perhaps they should consider doing what i do when i use public transportation: carry a small paperback book with me

    (c) didn’t make an environmental arguement for newsprint, although it seems to me that the garbage freebies are probably worse offenders than newspapers (at least you have to pay something for newspapers so people are a little less cavalaier about taking multiple copies, etc.)

  33. a little off topic but … in terms of content Macleans has really become a leader . Wells, O’Malley, Coyne (with whom I mostly disagree), Johnson, Bethune, Weinman are really the best at what they do in Canadian media. There’s a need of a house wit, a humourist or satirist. But … but … is it not one of the uglist magazines in the Western World? The tab-ish design just doesn’t suit the standing of the content.

  34. It’s certainly no Western Standard

  35. I’m glad, for Selley’s sake, that he’s still working, but I honestly can’t think of a more useless task for someone to be engaged in than his daily cut and paste routine. It’s like a contract you’d give a friend who you like to work with, but who otherwise can’t fill in any existing gap in the office.

    Oh, and the humor/satire content is filled ably by Feschuk, who absolutely makes the magazine and website complete. I only hope he doesn’t end up leaving for work for Iggy.

  36. It is no coincidence that Macleans does a far, far better job of remaining centrist,

    as opposed to the leftist myopia that dominates much of the rags.

    Why a news organization would essentially alienate half of its potential market (as the NYT has done to perfection) by handing its resources over to partisans who lack the professionalism to even attempt to have their news come from a perspective that’s not limited to the big city socialite scene,

    is beyond me.

    When the fundamental premises on which almost every news story is based (for instance that big government is the answer to all our problems and hence story after story as to what the government is “failing to do” to save us) large swaths of their market, like myself, simply tune it out.

    This is not anecdotal. It is fact. And one only has to spend some time on conservative blogs (in Canada Kate at SDA has a continuing series on this phenomenah) to read the plethora of accounts of not only examples of such out-of-touch myopia, but how it has frustrated so many, such that they, like me, have not picked up a paper in ages.

    It is sad really, because while blogs have their place, news organizations which have the resources and infrastructure to go out and “dig”, are wanted and needed.

    What isn’t wanted and needed, are story after story of ideologically driven hit pieces such as the dreaded cartoon bird, which blanketed the bottom of our collective bird cages for weeks on end. Yes it was rich like honey to a fraction of the public, the fringe left driven by the same ideology, but to ordinary Canadians, it was a complete joke.

    Again, the joke was not the cartoon bird (which was tasteless yes but headline grabbing??) the joke was the media.

    The answer lies at cleaning out the source. J-schools need diversity, not wannabe leftist activists who go into the profession to “make a difference” and “change the world” – which difference invariably is of the non-conservative variety.

    The public does not want you to change the world for us (we free thinking members of a democracy can handle that ourselves thank you very much),

    we just want the facts. No editorializing mid “story”, no “angles”, no “experts” where facts are selectively taken to stay with the narrative, no “catchy” headlines, no explaining to us why or how we should interpret the facts – all of which lead to the myopic limitations.

    Give us as much of the facts as possible, and let us adults decide how and why its important to us, and what we should do with that information.

    You do that, and you’ll have a thriving industry once again.

    You don’t and expect to see the trickle of layoffs become a flood.

  37. Kody,

    “Truly thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.”

    — Shakespeare, As You Like It

  38. How strange! I was sure I posted something here about 2 hours ago.

  39. There’s no sign of anything, Wabbit, including in the review queue. I approved something in another comment thread that you wrote that had a link in it. Our software is very suspicious of links so comments with links will almost never go up right away.

  40. `”Why a news organization would essentially alienate half of its potential market (as the NYT has done to perfection) by handing its resources over to partisans who lack the professionalism to even attempt to have their news come from a perspective that’s not limited to the big city socialite scene”

    So in other words, the NYT Co. should follow a different business model – like the ones followed by the Western Standard and the National Post. That *has* to lead to more profits.

    For all the bleating about how the media needs to be ‘more conservative’, you’ll note that the most profitable (or the days the least unprofitable) newspapers are ones like the Toronto Star and New York Times. Funny that.

  41. I had wondered why there were no posts from Megapundit lately. Chris Selley will be missed! I guess this means I’ll have to grudgingly add the National Post to my daily blog rounds in order to take advantage of “Full Pundit”. Thanks for the link Paul.

  42. A blog and dozen of comments about the decline of the print-media industry and not one mention of CanWest?

    I think the model that’ll eventually to predominate is that the web will be the source for topical news and less-frequent print publications will be for longer investigative reporting and *carefully* researched opinion and analysis of trends that emerge from reporting done more frequently. THAT IS if there are people left who, reared on audiovisual and web interactivity from childhood right through their formative years, have the cognitive skills necessary to handle a longer narrative, to remember detail from one paragraph to another, who understand the value of quiet, contemplative reading and who understand the value of informed citizenship. Oh, and are willing to pay for the opportunity and are willing to sacrifice some time devoted to other activities (web-surfing, gaming, teevee, shopping) to devote the required time for it.

    In other words, this isn’t a prediction; just wishful thinking.

  43. Mike M

    TorStar is profitable because of Harlequin, its newspaper sales aren’t that great.

    NY Times is not a good example for newspapers because it has earned lots of goodwill from past decades and still lives off its past reputation. Reminds me of the Globe, people still buy it out of habit but no one is that enthused by the product. The LA Times is as liberal as they come, in a very liberal town, and it’s circling the toilet bowl.

    I don’t think newspaper necessarily need to be more conservative, tho WSJ is the only major US newspaper to gain readers this year, I think they need to shake up their opinion writers and do a better job of reporting news. Many newspaper seem to treat their opinion sections as sinecures and never bring in fresh blood. How long has Jeffery Simpson been at the Globe? I am in my mid-30’s and I don’t remember a time when Simpson wasn’t there.

    But newspapers could be in a bind because they are so liberal now and many libs are very intolerant indeed. If libs read anything that doesn’t conform to their worldview, they get their knickers in a twist really quick. So maybe newspaper are doomed if they do, doomed if they don’t.

  44. Mr. Moffat,

    and others.

    You entirely missed my point. I don’t think they should lean right or left. They should simply report all of the facts or as much as humanly possible.

    It is because the NYT has a far left bend that its in the tank.

    When the news is infected with an agenda, it loses its credibility, and hence any value to us, the readers.

  45. “NY Times is not a good example for newspapers because it has earned lots of goodwill from past decades and still lives off its past reputation. Reminds me of the Globe, people still buy it out of habit but no one is that enthused by the product”

    I almost spit my coffee up on the screen. So the Globe is successful, not because people like it, but because they are used to buying it. Same with the Times. Versus all the other papers that are tanking which apparently people are not used to buying (LA Times est. 1968, Chicago Tribune est. 1829, Detroit Free Press est. 1831).

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    If you are going to form an opinion and make an argument, please TRY and support with facts, or in absence of facts, logical reasoning.

    Although I agree you are spot on about the Toronto Star, the newspaper division is not performing well at all.

  46. But newspapers could be in a bind because they are so liberal now and many libs are very intolerant indeed. If libs read anything that doesn’t conform to their worldview, they get their knickers in a twist really quick.

    You honestly don’t believe this, do you?

  47. Eg: death of Cdn soldier in Afghstn

    Headline: “Another grim milestone” (story follows the headline – a sensless tragedy – word “brave” never mentioned)

    or

    Headline: “Another Soldier sacrifices for Our Freedom”

    The former is reported of course, given that the j-schools produce left leaning anti-war activists.

    Just one of a million scenarios.

  48. On a more cheerful note, it’s a wonderful time to be a consumer of information and opinion. As a retiree I’m all over the web every day and still read a half dozen hold-in-your-hand magazines on a regular basis.

    Having said that, it may be a narrow window of opportunity for consumers. Information ( real information) is hard. Opinion is easy. Information is expensive. Unless the task is regurgitation and amending of press releases. Opinion is relatively cheap.

    There are still a substantial number of places to go for good information AND good writing. Most of those have a hard copy and on-line existence. It’s difficult to see how that sustains for the long term.

    But, to quote the stand-up-comedian Keynes ” In the long term we’re dead”.

  49. Kody – I find your call for a “just a facts” approach to be amusing. You seem to assume such an approach will make mainstream media outlets more palatable for a conservative audience. i would say that depends entirely on WHICH facts one chooses to focus on. be careful what you wish for.

    Another gap in your logic: your theory seems to be that a lack of conservative readers is why newspapers are not more profitable. What is your evidence behind this? Are right wing-leaning media outlets more profitable than other outlets? Are right-wingers more likely to pay for subscriptions than other people? I suppose its true that they generally have more disposable income but it seems to me that price is hardly the most convincing explanation for why fewer and fewer people read newspapers.

  50. In any shrinking industry there will be winners and losers (expcept apparently Airlines and Auto companies, where even the losers win. Aside: there does not seem to be any bailout plans for all the displaced newspaper workers).

    The winners in the newspaper business will win by “giving people what they want.”

    I read the Globe, the Times, and this blog online – I don’t pay for any of it even though I would. I subscribe to print editions of New Yorker, the Saturday Star and Globe, the Sunday Times.

    I’ve voted Liberal in every Canadian federal election since my first one in 2000 when I was old enough to vote for the first time, and I’ve voted Conservative in every provincial election except the last one because of idiotic school funding thing.

    I grew up in a small town in Ontario, live in Toronto now, and lived in NYC for a while and obviously couldn’t vote but would’ve voted Democrat at all levels and would not have voted for Bloomberg at the time because of the stadium-in-Manhattan thing but I like him now.

    What does this tell Newspaper companies about what their readers want?

    Jack s@#t.

    Because I am just one person.

    For all the commenters on this page who think they have the solution for the woes of the newspaper industry based on their own preferences – I have one question.

    What the @#$( do you know?

  51. Ah, I see the “Another Soldier sacrifices for Our Freedom” headline is the one that is just about the facts, right?

    Man oh man, where to start…

  52. And further to our little case study,

    the question as to WHY every single soldier’s death is headline grabbing in the first place. This is a relatively recent phenomenah, as our society (as all societies) tradditionally expect our soldiers to die in the line of duty.

    Today, thousands of Canadians died in arguably much more ‘tragic’ circumstances:

    the father of three who overate for no good reason,

    the mother who didn’t put a seatbelt on,

    the child who fell down ungaurded stairs.

    Thousands every day.

    Yet the soldiers body is goulishly followed by the cameras.

    The very fact that it is treated as one of the most exceptional circumstances in our lives, in an of itself speaks volumes about the editorial position of the papers.

  53. Jean, if there is to be a headline,

    which I suggest above there shouldn’t,

    it would simply be the fact, Mr. x died on x date at Kandahar.

    Of course it is never left at that. Otherwise it would simply be an obituary (which in fact is exactly what it is).

    Again, the fact that a far left partisan such as youself justifies the status quo,

    proves my point precisely.

  54. I wonder if The Toronto Star might drop the Sunday paper which seems to get thinner and thinner every week?

    Thanks for the Megapundit location info.

  55. @ archangel, I wasn’t serious, I was merely following up on what was disquieting to raging ranter, and trying to pin it down. A mixture of anal explosiveness, and “news hole” referring to time slot devoted to news. Coupled with the asshole persona, which usually involves destruction, and hole / black hole void imagery. And as an insult that is what I came up with.
    And I realized that after I posted, that I had negated the very insult I proposed.
    And as for papers vs blogger’s. I don’t use papers, so they must not be necessary.

  56. Kody – Ah, I misunderstood you. Your headline sounds kind of boring though. And I don’t think you could really go sans headlines. How would you know where one story ended and another began? Besides which you would simply switch from complaining about bias in the headline to bias in the actual story.

    Also the reason that our soldiers’ deaths are more newsworthy than routine traffic accidents is that we have deliberately chosen, as a matter of public policy, to put them in harm’s way; for a war that seems less and less likely to end in the way we would like it to end (i.e a peaceful, tolerant, stable Afghanistan).

  57. RE: Andrew Potter on the media:

    “The problem is that no one is making money, not print, not online, not new media, not social networking sites. No one. In virtually every case, the business model, such as it is, amounts to a whole lot of people praying for some magic widget or killer app that will conjure old-time revenues out of clicks. It isn’t going to happen.”

    Except the facts don’t show that at all.

    Douglas A. McIntyre – December 8, 2008:

    “In the last quarter, About made over $10 million on $28 million in revenue. It is not hard to imagine the division fetching over $100 million due to its high operating margins. About.com revenue and net income are still growing in the double digits.”

  58. Man oh man, where to start…

    Just don’t. Ignore Kody until he decides to start making sense. Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated and insulting and Paul Wells will ban you.

    …not Kody though. They love him here.

  59. I see we’re still ignoring the elephant in the room. The real question that should be on the mind of everyone who works in the media is: Why is our product so valueless?

  60. As a society we deliberately eat fatty foods – the government doesn’t ban them.

    We have highways built by the government that gaurantee deaths will occur on them.

    ect.

    ect.

    No, the editors that decide to make each and every death of a soldier tragic, is because their agenda is that all war is sensless. It’s the basic staple of the leftist.

    In the process reality becomes perverted. The soldier who bravely volunteers, in part, to put his life on the line to sacrifice for us, becomes like a child that needs our protection, our coddling, our sympathy, his decision to go and potentially die, we are told to assume is borne out of misplaced ignorance rather than nobility and courage.

    The innocent one year old child that died because his seatbelt wasn’t fastened? Him? No headline. Just an obit. No cameras following his little casket around.

  61. Blogging and online commentary will eventually fade in appeal to refugees from print media.

    While initially they may be fresh and interesting, eventually the commentary section of blogs gets populated by ideologues, and predictable partisans – the modern web family version of the Bickersons.

    Kudos to the attempts of some to moderate the discussion, but even the most vigilant will tire and realize it is a no win proposition.

  62. I’m no expert on the newspaper business, but I expect that advertising revenues are as important or more important than subscriptions or royalties.

    Google’s massive growth has come at the expense of traditional advertisers. In the 1990s the “dot-com” boom happened because it was apparent that easy-to-use computers and Internet technology was going to “disintermediate” many businesses (I used to love that word until it became a cliche a week later).

    At the same time, many people complain that our suburban lifestyle is not economically or environmentally sustainable. The massive effort to build the highway system starting in the 1940s gave us, among other things, the Darren Stevens stereotype of the adman, which is now obsolete (along with the sitcom, one can only hope).

    Instead, advertising and media, once the backbone of our culture (for at least a brief few decades, like a mayfly in the perspective of even Canadian history) has been completely taken over by young, enthusiastic, urban bloggers and designers, even before many of the previous generation managed to get comfortable replacing their typewriters with word processors.

    As fewer people need to commute, cities will become less desirable. Young people eventually get older, have kids, and cities aren’t such a good place to raise kids. They’ll move to where they can afford to live. The “invisible hand” of sustainability is pushing back on the conceits of the previous generations. You could look at it as an opportunity.

    I like Google well enough, but relative to the likes of Palmer Jarvis or BBDO I don’t think it’s much of a contest. Everyone who has ideas appreciates it if they can be compensated for them, but I don’t think Adwords on my blog is going to put food on the table. Fortunately Canada is a country where food is cheap and abundant (my wife picked up a massive pack of steaks for $20 the other day — hurrah!).

    More to the point, will online ad revenue fund junkets to auto shows and political conventions, or somehow support important investigations in the issues of the day? I can’t say categorically that this advertising model won’t do that but the fact that it’s more efficient than the conventional approach means that someone isn’t getting what used to be their share of the money. If newspapers and traditional media won’t be paying for these things, and we really don’t want to see a government monopoly on public expression, who will pay?

    If content is king, we are living in an age of royal abundance. Everywhere you turn you can find comprehensive and insightful analysis. Sure it takes an effort to ignore the noise and commotion to focus on ideas of value, but I don’t need to pay $1000 or even $10 for high quality research in virtually any area of expertise. I can find it online, I can hook up with experts and ask them questions in almost real time and I don’t even have to leave my desk. Even the phone book is too much trouble these days.

    All human progress has been driven by advancements in communications technology. Automobiles, trains, steamships, Roman roads and fire signals have all been instrumental in moving ideas around. More importantly, all these technologies have had profound political impact. As the cost of communications plummets, it becomes harder for the ruling class to control its message. We have now reached a stage where individuals are more effective than governments or large organizations in influencing public opinion.

  63. Mike Moffat,

    Being so close to the business, can you answer this:

    Has anyone tried the iTunes model — enable purchasing small chunks of content at a time?

    Royalties suggested by Andrew Potter might offend many of those on the right — too socialist, not enough freedom.

    Outreach to the broadest audience can be achieved by continuing to offer synopses on a main page or pages. Since people have a tendency to embrace their own views and reject or ignore those of an opponent, they are unlikely to benefit from balance in this scenario — but isn’t that happening anyway?

    Offer ad-free content at a higher price than the same ad-subsidized content — but please adopt some standards on the ads and advertisers. Strive to be like Apple from a clean design standpoint as opposed to say emoticon vendors.

    I wonder why Mr. Potter closes comments…

  64. Thanks Mr. W…
    Probably the same technical problems that ABC had in the middle of George Stephanopoulos’ interview with John McCain – cut off because of snow on the satellite dish.
    I’ve had to get up and clean my dish off three times in the last 12 hours! Grr!

  65. “Has anyone tried the iTunes model — enable purchasing small chunks of content at a time? ”

    Not that I know of.. at least not on a large scale. I think Baseball Prospectus allows you to buy an article at a time. There’s probably a bunch of others that I don’t know about. But it’s not widespread.

    Part of the problem is that nobody has ever managed to develop and popularize an effect online micropayments system. I suspect if we had such a system pay-for-play models would be a lot more common.

  66. Paul
    on your advise i took a look at ‘ small dead animals’. The shear volume of bile and vituperation drove me immediately back into the arms of Macleans. Please don’t do that again, i’m still shaking. Don’t know anything about media, but it’s clear ,to me anyway, that you and your colleagues MUST keep soldiering on. I only glimpsed at ‘ Bigcitylib’ before developing a severe allergic reaction to selfrighteousness. You have a lot to answer for.

  67. Steve Wart,

    Persuasive argument. But you’ve raised, for me, disturbing questions:

    ,i>”As the cost of communications plummets, it becomes harder for the ruling class to control its message.”

    I believe the ruling class is the ruling class because it gains and maintains control. If it cannot control its message it will cease to rule, no? So it will find the means.

    There are doubtless several means, e.g., deny access, run a campaign of disinformation.

    We might be going through a very limited “golden age” of information access, if such information-sharing freedom exists at all, but I fear it cannot last. It may already be over.

    And who controls the tolls on the “information highway”? And many, many other questions. Just sayin’.

  68. Kody
    ” we don’t see the world as it is; we see the world as we are.’ Anais Nin { i think ]
    make of that what you will.

  69. Kody’s 13:46 post displays a kind of empathy I hadn’t thought him capable of feeling, based on his (my apologies if you are female Kody) frequent prior posts. There is still hope for him. He might meet a nice girl with a strong personality who will help him moderate his views. Perhaps, one day, he will move to the political centre, where sanity dwells.

  70. Actually, judging from the Western Standard and the rapidity of the demise of the National Post, I’d suggest that kody is exactly wrong. Reporting on conservative issues doesn’t seem to make money. Perhaps it’s something to do with when your belief structures have solidified, you don’t want to pay for anything that might challenge them, and don’t need to pay for anything that doesn’t.

  71. Steve Wart: “As the cost of communications plummets, it becomes harder for the ruling class to control its message. We have now reached a stage where individuals are more effective than governments or large organizations in influencing public opinion.”

    I don’t think public opinion sways with the breeze the way you suggest. The main difference is that it is easier to find someone who shares your opinion than it used to be. But I don’t think opinions are changing any more quickly than before the internet. People have not changed, it is technology that has changed, just as it changed the day the printing press was invented.

  72. As an avid reader of Small Dead Animals, you should be aware that that is not the only ‘news’ that I read – I read the two national papers, my local paper, McLeans and a score of professional journals. What blogs bring are a sense of reality to the media because, for the most part, they are run by people who have real lives, in the real world rather than the very isolated newsrooms of capital cities. So the next time Mitchel Rapheal once again decides to include Justin Trudeau in his column (when JT has actually done something in his life I might be interested in seeing his picture – no I take that back, I will never have any interest in JT), maybe the editors should have a little chat with him and ask him if he has been outside of Ottawa recently. Or maybe editors should make it mandatory for their reporters to live and work in other communities.

  73. archangel: despite your patronizing, Kody is right far more often than you are, so hopefully someday you will move to the right, where sanity dwells.

  74. There are doubtless several means, e.g., deny access, run a campaign of disinformation.

    No, the elite don’t have to resort to these primitive means anymore. It’s hit on a winning formula…give people a 1000 different versions of the same thing and call it variety and choice and when people “choose” any of those, claim it’s giving people what they want. Along with a generation of people so wrapped up in their individualism (which is nothing other than widespread conformity) and egos so fragile that any criticism of their “choice” is viewed as a personal attack (elitism, as it were), you’ve not only got an audience that will adopt whatever position the elite wants you to, but that’ll believe it’s come to that conclusion based on a judicious examination of all possible alternatives and will defend it vigorously.

    It’s pure genius. Whether the ruling elite is aware of what it’s doing is something I’m not quite sure about. They’re surprisingly out of touch with reality and whenever this topic is brought up, it’s dismissed as “too simplistic.”

  75. I don’t want to be like kody who doesn’t seem to have much of a life, but visit the Dec 12 posting on Small Dead Animals re; Oliva Chow’s polls – that was so funny I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

  76. What blogs bring are a sense of reality to the media because, for the most part, they are run by people who have real lives, in the real world rather than the very isolated newsrooms of capital cities.

    “Real lives?” Everyone’s life is as real as yours, Maureen.

  77. Maureen: good post, I can’t agree with you more.

  78. sf,

    “archangel: despite your patronizing, Kody is right far more often than you are, so hopefully someday you will move to the right, where sanity dwells.”

    that’s exactly what I’m saying — he’s too far right. He’s so far right he is in danger of falling off that flat world you and he occupy. But it was honourable of you to defend him, nonetheless.

    May you both be redeemed some day.

    And, yes, I am deliberately being patronizing, owing to the appalling self-righteousness Kody displays.

    And you would be well served to understand the difference between offering opinion and proselytizing.

  79. Ti-guy
    Who exactly are the ruling elite? Just asking.

  80. sf People have not changed, it is technology that has changed, just as it changed the day the printing press was invented.

    I don’t like the tone of historical inevitability in my earlier comment but I think it’s important that unlike TV or radio, the information we pass around on the Internet is not under any central control.

    It depends on telecommunications equipment and the power grid, which is centrally controlled. But that amounts to an on/off switch, and thus is too crude, even for government purposes. Several governments have been successful in filtering and altering the content, but only on a very limited basis. They will get better at this, and they might try to use economic crisis as a means to control the media.

    Read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash for an interesting take on things that I hope is not too prescient.

  81. Who exactly are the ruling elite?

    The class of people who are influential….mostly politicians and businesspeople, but academics and a few artists as well. They’re famously apolitical…neither Conservative nor Liberal nor social democratic. What unites them is power, wealth, influence and celebrity.

    I don’t have a problem with a ruling elite per se but when times get desperate, it becomes clear how unsuited a lot of them are to the responsibilities we’ve entrusted them with.

  82. is it just me or is this infinately depressing? let’s remove sole control of the trading of information from the sweaty clutches of the professionals – direct democracy right. But i almost prefer being manipulated by the self-interested prof , than listen to the cacophony of shrieking voices that insist that they alone represent the silent majoriy. The squeaky wheel… sorry if this comes over as elitist.

  83. Ti-guy
    Can’t fault your logic- but what’s a citizen to do? As Orwell pointed out in animal farm revolution frequently disappoints. Maybe we should stop voting as it only encourages them. whoops we’re already doing that. Only leaves one other obvios choice… join em.

  84. I think the biggest problem that faces traditional media is that their business model was based on “priviledged access” to people and technologies that was outside the reach of the average joe (I don’t agree with the notion of “ruling elites”). With the drop in the cost of technology and the easy access to worldwide locations via the internet, this privilege has disappeared. And this really is a problem that all multi-media based industries are facing.

    The question of whether or not blogs can fill this purpose adequately is still an open-ended question, but I think that it boils down to quality of writing and content, and whether the blogger actually can dedicate the time to achieve this quality of service and information. Could some people stand to make a living off blogging as a news source? Perhaps. If you can do it via YouTube, then why not? Just a matter of knowing who your audience is and keeping them.

    Austin

  85. I don’t agree with the notion of “ruling elites”

    Whether you agree or not, it is a fact of life; always has been and always will be. The problem that has arisen is that journalists, for the most part, eventually come to identify themselves with that elite more than with us, the consumers of their products. Which makes sense, since we’re not their clients anyway. Media’s business is to sell audiences to advertisers.

    It’s a bizarre manifestation of supply and demand and the free market, which probably explains why it’s failing so badly.

  86. I despair at the decisions made by the elite who rule our nation’s media.

    Not only does Maclean’s seem to have stopped moderating blog comments on the weekend (oh dear), it seems that CBC is infringing on our fundamental human rights to watch Doctor Who unedited:

    /showmescifi.com/2008/12/13/doctor-who-journeys-end-editted-by-cbc-in-canada/

    Hopefully I’ve finally figured out how to post a link without running the gauntlet of moderation…

  87. Robert – I’m assuming that you’re referring to the Bush bob & weave clip.

    Great, eh ? Jon Stewart must be drooling.

    From the ridiculous to the sublime.

  88. Steve w
    Dr Who is edited?
    does this infringe our charter?
    Damn, i knew that charter challenge programme would come in handy someday.

  89. Robert M
    Being that i’m not yet a member of our ruling class, shouldn’t they be throwing their shoes at me?

  90. Making the comparison with my own line of endeavour, poetry, I’d say there is no guaranteed happy ending here.

    There are two factors: circulation and public interest.

    In terms of the circulation of poetry, it used to be that every little hamlet would welcome traveling minstrels — bards, rhapsodes, choreographers for the village dance, whatever they happened to be called. They were the source of narrative and ritual entertainment.

    Then, along came literacy. Now you could suddenly read poems yourself (or have them read to you) — no need to wait for the bard to come around, and no need to pay him when he did because you already had your poetry in written form. The printing press was the next cataclysm. In the Elizabethan Age, our most productive period, there might have been, oh, 20 practicing poets and translators (sonneteers don’t count) in England and Scotland. In the Dark Ages, when the population was a tenth the size, there were probably 200. Even with the ballooning of the population through the addition of America and the Commonwealth, there were probably never more than 50 serious poets operating at the popular height of poetry — say, 1860.

    So easy mass circulation can seriously reduce the number of practitioners of an art form; and now it’s happening to reporters — like it happened to poets and, to a large extent, musicians after the advent of vinyl. If the public is interested in news as such, it is not going to pay for a slight difference on the same report from Shanghai — so a dozen China bureaus close.

    The other, potentially more serious, problem is the decline of public interest. If the public gets so hooked on opinion, so that all 6 billion people can comment on the same piece of news about Britney Spears or Barak Obama and feel that their thirst for “what’s happening” has thereby been satisfied, the news will wither away. That’s pretty much what’s happened with poetry — the journalistic equivalent would be a million little “news sites” where unpaid and untrained citizen reporters post word of what they heard somebody say at the mall yesterday. It sounds insane, but it takes generations for old habits (in this case, curiosity about fact; in the case of poetry, a taste for formal language) to die off. The cause and effect (decline is a vicious circle between the two) would be a rise in existential solipsism; and the frightening thing, to me, is that this has already been on the rise for years, the inevitable handmaiden of materialism and nihilism. So, over the long term, i.e. the next 50 years (2 generations), perhaps reportage and even professional analysis are doomed to dwindle to a parody of their former selves — unless we can find a new basis for anti-materialism, anti-nihilism, anti-consumerism. At the moment the only rationale for calling people to lead a more spiritual, more civic, more curious life seems to be self-interest, i.e. “Look in the mirror, for God’s sake” — and that hasn’t got mass appeal.

  91. jack M
    Oh god! Are you saying, in effect, if we’re all special, then none of us are?
    i suppose the writing was on the wall when reality tv and infotainment became seriouly accepted and popular. If serious journalism becomes a nich artform, like poetry, where does that leave us all.

  92. I like the idea of a central depot, where, for $1.95, you can pick three-yes any three, columnists articles from a list of twelve. Or, to avoid the pain of having your credit card studded with three pages full of tiny little numbers, you can have unlimited access to five columnists PER DAY! Wow, for only $29.95 a month, you can receive up to 150 in-depth opinions from a variety of columnists covering the spectrum from left to right.

    Those who aren’t picked often will, sadly, need another line of work. Those that are picked regularly stand to make quite a bit of money. Too bad about publishers.

    Also on the central depot will be press releases sent by whomever wants to, at no charge to the reader.

    Perhaps another section where for $49.95 per month, (or $2.95 for three) investigative reporters would investigate, and report, on issues of the day.

    Kady O’Malley, of course, will have her very own subscription service. She will continue her liveblogging gig for a year or two until she becomes so rich she could buy Parliament Hill. She will include advertisements on her service, but only from Blackberry.

  93. kc: “If serious journalism becomes a nich artform, like poetry, where does that leave us all.”

    Oh, don’t worry, kc, I figure we’d all be dead by then; though hopefully we’ll live see to the Grand Return of Poetry! The timing could be tricky, of course.

  94. Jack, yes that timing thing is nasty, not only in predicting when the market will turn around, but apparently also when stocking up on the works of great artists and poets. Alas, it seems they only hit the jackpot after they die.

    I tried explaining this to my daughter but she’s still convinced she wants to be an artist. I suggested maybe a video game designer, or quelle horreur an architect.

    I wish you the best of course. As Keynes famously said, in the long run, we’re all dead.

  95. Jack Mitchell,

    Trapped. Like a bee in a windowpane.

  96. I haven’t read the comments, but it is shocking to compare bigcitylib to SDA. It’s not even that the left-right balance is so skewed, it’s that the reality/paranoid fantasy balance is so skewed.

  97. Steve: “I tried explaining this to my daughter but she’s still convinced she wants to be an artist. I suggested maybe a video game designer, or quelle horreur an architect.”

    I’ve always thought video game design was a growth field artistically, sort of the logical destination of installation art. They aren’t really there yet, but maybe by the time she grows up? If only they didn’t have to spend 90% of their energy and resources reinventing the wheel, i.e. the game engine, every time. I wonder if there is a natural limit to how sophisticated graphics can get; I suppose time will tell.

    I’ve known a few architects and they are all nice people. They have the advantage of working in a collaborative environment, like Renaissance painters; though this does keep them poor and overworked for the first decade or two of their careers. But they also don’t have to spend half their time wondering why they exist, which is a major bonus.

    Painters, on the other hand, if they make it, make it big. It’s their work you should be collecting as they’re on the way to the morgue, as it’s tangible & thus has scarcity value. Though I suppose Byron’s manuscript of Don Juan must be worth something by now. About as much as a third-rate Rothko.

    For your daughter, what about . . . journalist? Or does that word make every Dad despair?

    Speaking of architecture, though, it’s a good reason not to despair about journalism. Forty years ago you’d have said it was a dead art; now they’re doing rather well. Personally I don’t think we’ll lose our need for news (and thus professional analysis), though we might if things continued as they’ve been continuing; I mean, we’re headed for the end of oil and some horrible epidemic at a minimum. Stay tuned, younger generations!

  98. Jack, your comments remind me of a quotation that once had a profound effect on me. I apologize for rendering them here in English:

    And opening the window of his cell he pointed out with
    his finger the immense church of Notre-Dame, which, outlining
    against the starry sky the black silhouette of its two towers,
    its stone flanks, its monstrous haunches, seemed an enormous
    two-headed sphinx, seated in the middle of the city.

    The archdeacon gazed at the gigantic edifice for some time
    in silence, then extending his right hand, with a sigh, towards
    the printed book which lay open on the table, and his left
    towards Notre-Dame, and turning a sad glance from the book
    to the church,–“Alas,” he said, “this will kill that.”

  99. Steve Wart,

    “or quelle horreur an architect.”

    Speaking from some experience, I agree that architecture is a profession can be a horror for all but those with a consuming passion:

    “The author describes the benefits of becoming an architect, including the opportunity to express oneself creatively, to improve the environment, and to achieve notoriety. But he doesn’t hesitate to show the other side—the lack of steady work and appropriate compensation, the intensity of competition, the restrictions imposed by clients, and the high degree of anxiety and disillusionment among young architects. Written in a clear, accessible style, the book is accompanied by the authors often-humorous illustrations and a valuable appendix.”

    — Architect? A Candid Guide to the Profession, Revised Edition by Roger K. Lewis

    Perhaps your daughter should read the book before she decides?

  100. Thanks archangel – it seems all worthy professions come with a healthy portion of angst and self-doubt. I will look it up

  101. I’m training to be a teacher. I’ll be poor but happy. Or that’s my hope at least.

  102. It’s a bizarre manifestation of supply and demand and the free market, which probably explains why it’s failing so badly.

    Ti-Guy, your argument is what’s failing badly. You hit on some legitimate points, then hopelessly mangled them with your own twisted, er… reasoning, for lack of a better word.

    Taking four paragraphs to say, “Dose eelites is running tings,” doesn’t strengthen your argument. Quite the opposite.

  103. RR – perhaps if Ti-Guy were to illustrate his points with images of chimps and baboons it all might make more sense to you.

  104. I would say print is pretty much dead in five years. When was the last time you saw anyone under thirty reading an actual newspaper? Or over forty for that matter.

    What we are waiting for is “electric paper”. Something magazine sized, about the same weight, with the readability of print (sorry I-phone/blackberry). Think third generation Kindle. But with cell capacity, online ability and 10,000 song storage. At that point say good bye to Macleans, NP, G+M, most of Southam. The Toronto Star will continue as a zombie unit for the illiterate and the Liberals in the enclave.

    The revenue model is hard to figure – click through ads, display, crawlers. But, remember, no more dead trees and ink so costs drop hard.

    The real value players will be editors. Both branded, as in Macleans, and freelance. Chris Selley was probably the most valuable long term player Macleans had simply because he could pick great stories and introduce them well. (Pretending Taylor is any sort of replacement is a joke.)

    Reporting will still get done. A syndicate of twenty well followed editors could buy Kady or Paul’s output at $40.00 a day a piece and they would likely show up. But the younger, prettier, faster, smarter Kady and Paul might be on offer with video for $5.00 a day. The competition will be brutal and it will then, as now, be determined by editors.

    Ultimately, and we are talking years not decades, we will have a much richer media mix without the intervening layers of political correctness, editorial bias and dead tree ethos which has brought the print media so low.

    Come the day.

  105. Having been a blogger (and reader of blogs) since 2002, I can pretty much authoritatively state that if blogs replace “real” journalism, everybody’s in trouble.

    Yes, blogs are a great way of democratizing opinion. If blogs rendered the commentariat of opinion journalists (like, unfortunately, our host) obsolete, I wouldn’t shed a single pseudonymous tear. But there’s no way that even blogs as massive as Daily Kos (or some kind of mythical Canadian equivalent) or as well written as digby’s Hullabaloo (google it, links on this site are problematic) could replace real journalism.

    (And the prospect of Blogging Tories with serious cachet is terrifying. Witness Taylor.)

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