Pour one out

for Tribune.

The first big one to take the hit. But, tragically, it’s surely just the first casualty of a bloody body count to come. Hoping for the best for all my buddies at Trib papers today.

Interesting and somewhat related interview with Nick Denton of Gawker in MarketWatch today, talking about discovering young writers:

But not the old-fashioned media, that is. In fact, Denton, again, takes the opportunity to rip the mainstream newspapers and magazines for their inability to spot promising young journalists. “People say I have an eye for talent,” he scoffed. “That’s bull____. The only reason is that newspapers and magazines haven’t been doing their jobs, bringing on young writers.”

This essentially what I’ve heard from a lot of our generation of journalists. When newspapers had the opportunity to embrace young talent and make them an integral force of reshaping news coverage for the new media landscape, they instead created an environment that was frightened of new ideas and too reverential to an old architecture, even as it was rapidly buckling under new pressures. The result has been many young journalists who have deemed this attitude to be too unrewarding to bother investing time in, and an exodus followed.

My last newspaper job did me very well experience wise, but by the end, with cutbacks and little new investment, it practically became an endurance test for how long the staff could justify being there for clips alone.

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3 responses to “Pour one out

  1. The MarketWatch interview with Denton was very telling. People read for newspapers for the insight, good reporting and good writing. Technology has suddenly and violently changed the market. It’s similar to what happened to IBM in the 80s. They were on top of the world with their mainframe business until Apple and other personal computing companies revolutionized the industry. The difference is IBM rebuilt itself from the ground up instead of crying foul and stagnating like the big newspaper companies.

  2. Tim A. Donnelly

    It’s also very similar to what happened/is happening with the music industry. The physical product proved to be too inefficient for the marketplace and it took a long time before the industry recognized that continuing to fight for the physical product was a losing battle. In the interim, illegal downloading took hold and Apple (again) revolutionized the marketplace by taking the ease digital content distribution and creating a business plan around it. Record companies are in danger of becoming obsolete now.

    Newspapers had the same head-in-the-sand approach to technology for years. Now that they’re trying to play catch up, they’re finding they just don’t have the resources to invest in it any more. The difference is, no one has entirely stepped up to replicate their product in a different medium, but we’re starting to see some progress with sites like Politico. Those run on a completely different business model that may be hard to replicate however.

  3. Pingback: My liver wishes newspapers wouldn’t close so quickly « Inverted Soapbox

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