pre-mortem of a daily?

There's been a lot of noise recently about how the newspapers are dying. This is a bit of a misrepresentation, as most newspapers are doing pretty well (at least, they're profitable, if not by a lot). Some, however, are dying quickly, largely due to having huge debts due to unwise purchases.

In any event, a lot of hoo-ha has gone on about how the big papers are dying quickly.

The big problem, as I've noted previously, is that the newspapers, too often, aren't providing value to the customer (I'm ignoring craigslist's annihilation of the classified ads, which were the single largest profit center in the paper). In particular, they've largely given up on standing up to power.

For the most part, they've decided to sit back and just mindlessly repeat the blatherings of anonymous government people spitting out the official party line. That's what's called propoganda. That's why Pravda was mocked for its uselessness, many years ago.

In any event, I was looking at this article, and this line struck a bit of a nerve.

There was concern about how this device would lead to destroying quality reporting, getting people to focus more on the quick hits, and that there would be less reason to do "real" reporting -- leading to more annoying opinion writing, rather than actual journalism. Sound familiar?

I think this is another part of the problem; the newspapers (and other news sources, even more so) are trying to get stories out too quickly, and so they'll report on something before they actually have something to say about it.

Once again, we come back to the question: what are we providing of value to the customer? If they don't have something coherent to say about an event, they're not going to be showing that value. If they aren't verifying their facts, then they're potentially reducing that value (being lied to about an event is much worse than not knowing about the event at all).

Update: Not sure what to make of this, but it's an interesting point of comparison.

Update 2: And this goes to show what happens when you just appease those in power. (And, btw, that update that it was an editorial aide? What difference does that make? Either way, it was in-house.)

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