Picard nails it
Noted media economist Robert Picard expresses the same frustration I’ve been feeling lately over the recent “coverage” of the financial difficulties of U.S. newspapers. His recent blog post “The Dead and the Dying” sums up the journalists’ hysteria nicely:
Nickle and dime-ing readers like the airlines? Special treatment from the government? Relying on professors to tell us what’s going on? Have journalists gone mad?
In some ways they have. They are panicking at problems in big city media and ignoring the fact that most newspapers are relatively stable and reasonably healthy. The only newspapers experiencing serious competitive difficulties are those in the top 25 markets (about 1 percent of the total) and these are joined in suffering by corporate newspaper companies whose executives have made serious managerial mistakes.
It’s simply mass hysteria.
I don’t know how else to explain the universal underlying assumption in coverage by reporters at all levels, in all media, that newspapers are fatally broken, that the business model doesn’t work, and that the solution is somehow more complicated than this:
Make your product relevant, and necessary, to the lives of local people and advertisers, and adjust your expenses to the realities of the new advertising landscape.
That’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, either.
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