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Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Let me put it bluntly: This won't work" (J C DVORAK)

Newspaper Publishers Are Idiots
by John C. Dvorak

So now we hear that The New York Times is contemplating the notion of becoming a subscription-based Web site, where you only get to read it if you pay real money. What a quaint idea.

Let me put it bluntly: This won't work. It will completely sink the publication faster than it's already sinking.
[... Read the Entire PC Magazine Article HERE]
So should the newspaper go the way of the buggy whip? No, it just needs to return to its roots, and focus on providing densely edited and directed information of importance as decided by a trustworthy source. And it should leave the fluff to the Internet.

For too long newspapers have taken on the role of cultural arbiter and distribution channel for popular culture ideas. That is all over and can never return.

That said, nobody has nailed the new model for the old newspaper. These publishers are out-and-out idiots. They see something online and immediately try to do the same thing in print. "We want color ink and more stories about celebrities!"

I was doing research at the University of California Newspaper Library, which has a tremendous collection of microfilmed old newspapers from every era. If you want to see the heyday of the newspaper business and quickly see what would work today, look at a 1954 edition of The San Francisco Examiner. It's so dense with news stories that today's papers look as if there's nothing in them. It is extremely compelling.

The point is that there are good ideas already out there, and they just need to be rediscovered. But for now the panic-stricken bosses seem to be heading down the same abyss in the same direction. It's the direction that created the abyss in the first place.

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