Monday, November 17, 2008


aimai celebrates her grandfather's life. Go read the whole thing, as they say.

It's amusing that it seems many journalists are still stuck in the whole 3 years ago blogger vs. journalists debate. I suppose they're largely reacting to something perpetuated by right wing bloggers, though why anyone ever pays any attention to them I have no idea. Reporters also think the internet has destroyed their business model, and bloggers are somehow the personification of that.

I'm always fascinated that when journalists talk about their profession they do, as aimai says, talk about some Platonic ideal of it rather than the reality. It makes it easier to sniff at the riff raff, but also suggests an amazing lack of awareness about their own profession.

This contempt-for-bloggers stuff is basically contempt for their readers and potential readers. I obviously don't agree with Rupert Murdoch about everything or even everything he's reported as saying in this article, but he's right about this.

"The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception."

For many years, in most places newspapers basically had a monopoly. Owners and publishers and editors convinced themselves of their importance in civic life, an importance they simply assumed rather than proving it every day. Now that they face increased competition, they tend to cling their self-importance rather than trying to adapt.

I do worry that there won't be a business model which will sustain quality local reporting, but I don't weep for institutions which have long condescended to their readers.