End of Times?

This post from  really got me thinking.

Sparked by this post from Matthew Yglesisas, Garfield argues that this isn’t the “golden age” of journalism.

I’d have to agree with Garfield. I see this as the end of something brilliant. The end of the printed word, where there is only a matter of minutes left.

For me, it’s a scary thought. This is my life. I like getting up and driving to work, sitting down and writing on deadline. I can only see myself doing a handful of other jobs with this much enthusiasm.

Garfield helps to explain what’s happened.

“The news industry has gone from being obscenely profitable to slightly profitable to – at least, in the case of newspapers – largely unprofitable. All of that fantastic content Yglesias was gushing about is paid for by venture capitalists making bad bets, established media companies digging into their savings accounts to pay the bills, displaced workers earning peanuts, amateurs, semi-pros, volunteers and monks.

I would say that the business model is unsustainable, but losing money is not a business model. It is a going-out-of-business model.”

The money isn’t what it used to be. That much is obvious. Everything has moved online, where profits are harder to see for a paper like the Chronicle. Life isn’t easy. Each day is a process for us, so I can only imagine how hard it must be at other papers, big and small. In many ways, I don’t want to imagine.

People are using the web to its full potential and taking away everything we write. There’s no need for the printed word anymore. It’s all somewhere else with nice charts, colors and pop-up ads. That’s all tough to stomach.

Garfield continues…

“Here’s all you need to know. Lucrative classified advertising has disappeared, thanks to Craigslist, and display advertising rates online are vanishingly low. That’s thanks to the pesky law of supply and demand: there’s an infinite amount of online content, and therefore an infinite amount of advertising inventory, and therefore prices are driven inexorably downward.

The resulting revenue can’t sustain robust news organizations. The revenue can’t even sustain feeble news organizations.”

I don’t know where this all ends up. I’m terrified of what it means for me and the paper I’ve grown to love. This business, from what I’ve learned, is unforgiving and it doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. 

Jonathan

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