December 2, 2009

"It's time for traditional media companies to stop whining."

Said Arianna Huffington to the trad media types who don't like what the internet has done to their business. She thinks they ought to quit complaining that sites like hers are using the news they produce and be grateful that her site is sending them traffic.

31 comments:

Quayle said...

Whenever business owners start calling their departing customers "stupid" or "uninformed", you can put a fork in that business.

Scott said...

The internet has done NOTHING to erode the business of traditional media companies! Rather, the traditional media has been pumping out dreck that drifts further and further away from what people want and need.

This is not a failure of the business model. It's a failure of the media culture. It's a failure of the news rooms to produce content that's relevant to peoples' lives. It's a failure of colleges and universities to produce graduates who understand and appreciate and love the American people they will be writing for.

lucid said...

@Scott--

Although the internet has called the question, I agree that the old media had become stale and solipsistic, more interested in being invited than being read. They have become courtiers to powerful elites whose perspective and concerns contains no deep understanding or love of the people whose money and time they want to take.

Big Mike said...

I'll second what Scott just said, except I'd like to add what my wife has to say. I've been arguing that we should drop our WaPo subscription but she says that the coupons about cover the cost of the paper, and as long as she ignores the first the pages she may actually get real news.

According to her observation, there is precious little in the first three pages of the front section that is not Democrat propaganda. But once you're at page 4 or after, most of it's true.

Roger J. said...

Whoa--I just agreed with Ms Huffington! Must be hell for the old media to be taken to task by a leftie!

Leland said...

Failure of traditional media can be attributed less to the internet and more to such comments like that from Chris Matthews, who referenced the US Military Academy as an "enemy camp" of the US Commander and Chief.

At the same time, Huffington would becareful in biting the hand that feeds her website. Sure, they do their own writing, but without traditional media; she'd have to employ more staff to develop the stuff she now freely links to...

m00se said...

I think if you derive an income from your blog/site, and you link to other peoples content, you have nothing to bitch about if they want to charge for their content.

Sort of two faced in my opinion...

chickenlittle said...

Whoa--I just agreed with Ms Huffington! Must be hell for the old media to be taken to task by a leftie!

Agreed. And it sounds like a left/right consensus now.

It's settled science folks: MSM sucks!

Florida said...

Here's how newspapers operate:

1) A newspaper spends a not insignificant amount of money to report a news story. This includes the salary and benefits of a writer, a copy editor, an editor and usually a photographer who tags along and a publisher to administer the whole news department. Minimum 5 people ... usually more.

2) The newspaper then spends a significant amount of money printing their story. The costs of the printing and distribution of the newspaper are quite substantial. It used to be that subscription revenues covered that ... but subscriptions have been declining for 25 years and no longer cover all the printing and distribution costs.

After having spent all that money developing this exclusive content, the newspaper ... wait for it ... then gives that content for free to the Associated Press, which resells it to Google for a fucking pittance.

Google then makes billions selling ads next to that virtually free content the newspapers give freely to the Associated Press.

Here's an example of a Google-hosted AP story (note the advertising at the bottom of this page).

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlMpJGn28kqCcgU-aGcYE_ZHW-ywD9BRIOG82

Newspaper owners are fucking morons. They deserve everything they get.

The Associated Press is the problem. And the newspaper publishers could kill the AP tomorrow if they wanted to, but they're too stupid to figure it out.

In the past, the AP was a good deal for a newspaper. The AP gave the newspaper more value than it received from any individual paper. That's because the typical subscriber had no access to other sources of local and national news.

Today, however, with easy free access to every newspaper on the continent at the click of a mouse, the Associated Press is a disaster for newspapers.

Newspapers deserve to die because they're morons.

Comrade X said...

So Zsa Zsa won't mind if someone starts a site that makes generous use of her original content? Something tells me she's likely to flip flop.

AJ Lynch said...

Arianna's rebuttal to Murdock sounds like what she said to her gay husband.."Dahling it's not my fault I am not a young man. Get over it or pay up. ".

AJ Lynch said...

I love that the FCC Commissioner who wants to save "news that is vital to democracy" is married to the WAPO's far left liberal columnist Ruth Marcus.

It is getting more and more like Soviet Russia every day.

Florida said...

It is getting more and more like Soviet Russia every day.

In Soviet Russia ... newspaper reads you!

Kirby Olson said...

I've been wondering about the expenses of the National Enquirer investigation wrt following Tiger. They sent a sleuth to Australia to take photos. They have to have lawyers.

Most blog sites take news fromt he traditional media and provide a personal take on it, but almost no one does investigative reporting for their blog sites (Durham in Wonderland would be one exception).

Now US Weekly is reporting today a 3-year long affair between Tiger and some waitress in LA.

There are probably many other affairs, too. But the reason these stories surface is money.

No blog is paying anyone for information. But how many extra copies did National Enquirer sell, or how many more copies will US Weekly sell?

I notice that when I put a top news stories on my blog, my numbers triple, and my little monetizer is also helped due to the extra clicks on ads. But it does seem that traditional media does the solid reporting that the rest of us leech off, and recycle.

former law student said...

I'm amazed that newspapers were so dependent on classified ads for their revenue, because it was the one section that I never, ever read.

BC (before Craigslist) we tried selling used cars in the paper two times. The first time the car sold the first day. The second time a decade later, we got no nibbles at all -- a total waste of money. But then we put an ad in the weekly pennysaver, at a fraction of what the big daily wanted. It sold two days after the ad appeared.

Robert Cook said...

Scott, said, puzzlingly:

"It's a failure of colleges and universities to produce graduates who...love the American people they will be writing for."

Why should a reporter--or an opinion columnist, for that matter--love the "American people they will be writing for?" It's the reporter's job to learn the facts of any story, to the best of his or her ability to do so, and to report them. That's all. No "love" or "appreciation" or "understanding" of the reader by the writer is necessary. Opinion columnists are responsible only to offer their opinions on the stories of the day, and they will attract readers or not based on their opining. Again, no "love," etc. is necessary.

And what does it mean to "love,etc." the "American people" one might be writing for?

As for Big Mike's complaint,I don't read the Washington Post, but I'd like to know what kind of "Democrat"(sic)"propaganda" they publish. Do you have any examples? I hear all sorts of kooks ranting all the time about the rampant "liberal bias" of the media and it's like Bigfoot or Mothman or the Men in Black...one can never find them when one goes looking for them.

TosaGuy said...

If you value your product then people will also value it. The Wall Street Journal charges for much of its online content and is one of the few newspapers that increases its number of subscribers.

It also does not try to purposely insult its readers

Brian said...

A friend, who years ago was a reporter for a local newspaper (and still has friends in the industry), told us at dinner about how much the news has changed. They've started outsourcing even LOCAL news to places like India. They'll get Indians, who have good command of the english language and have little or no accent, to do telephone interviews and write them up. This is apparently cheaper than having local reporters.

Ugh. I guess this means the newspapers want a bailout to stop them from outsourcing their own jobs?

hdhouse said...

Ahh yes ... well if "independent, non-media, internet news sites" were that then its a level field and media companies should just hush up.

Its the non-news or badly reported news on many of these sites that drives media companies crazy and well it should.

vbspurs said...

OT: Here's something traditional media will never cover.

A Youtube video showing UNEMPLOYMENT in each US State. Scary how the purple consumes the US like a cancer. How's that hopenchange working out?

Rick T. said...

It's not murder; it's suicide.

former law student said...

How's that hopenchange working out?

Obama has too much integrity to pull off another bubble economy trick. The housing bubble gave homeowners the illusion of prosperity because they could draw on their HELOCs. Cornfields all over America became subdivisions, giving work to tradesmen in this country, and attracting illegals to work as laborers. Meanwhile, our dependable old manufacturing economy was being boxed up and sent to China.

Now, Clinton benefited from the dot-com bubble in the last half of his administration, and Clinton sent manufacturing jobs to Mexico. But during the Bush administration, even Mexican labor was expensive compared to China, and so the jobs left Mexico as well.

mariner said...

Florida:
After having spent all that money developing this exclusive content, the newspaper ... wait for it ... then gives that content for free to the Associated Press, ...

Not exactly.

They give that content (and a subscription fee) in return for receiving the content generated by other newspapers and by AP's Democrat propagandists (formerly known as reporters).

mariner said...

vbspurs:
OT: Here's something traditional media will never cover.

Oh contraire!

They will again cover it vigorously if a Republican is ever again in the White House.

Florida said...

"But then we put an ad in the weekly pennysaver, at a fraction of what the big daily wanted."

I once bought a newspaper in Missouri. (No, not a copy ... the actual newspaper company.)

It was one of those left-leaning Democrat Party controlled daily newspapers ... fairly typical for Missouri.

It also printed a Pennysaver on Wednesdays full of nothing but classified and display ads. No news content whatsoever.

Funny thing: Nobody read the newspaper. Coming from a newspaper background, I couldn't understand it. How people would read something that contained nothing but advertising. Nobody even wanted to advertise in the newspaper. We couldn't sell any ads for it.

We were stumped.

Everyone read the Pennysaver and every Wednesday we made a fortune on it.

So we started asking people why? And lo and behold we discovered that nobody wants to buy Democrat Party propaganda.

We sold the newspaper part to some lefty schmuck who wanted to be a "voice" in the community and he paid a pretty penny to get it.

But we kept the Pennysaver.

We made a fortune.

The paper, of course, went bankrupt.

holdfast said...

FLS - I agree with the substance of your comment, except the integrity part. Obama just does not have a bubble handy to re-inflate the economy, since the current "bubbles" are all resource based and the US just isn't a player there (drilling for oil is awfully gauche, doncha know). I would also argue that the housing bubble started in the early '90s, it just got really stupid under Bush.

Scott said...
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Scott said...
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Scott said...

"Why should a reporter--or an opinion columnist, for that matter--love the "American people they will be writing for?" It's the reporter's job to learn the facts of any story, to the best of his or her ability to do so, and to report them. That's all. No "love" or "appreciation" or "understanding" of the reader by the writer is necessary."

@Robert Cook:

Journalism is all about communication. Unless the journalist is only interested in hearing her own voice (which is unfortunately often the case), a journalist's calling is to communicate information to people. (It's a calling because it's a lousy way to make a living!)

If a journalist has no love, empathy, or understanding for the people with whom they communicate, then their work becomes pedantic; disconnected from the reality that their audience experiences.

The root of this disconnect is academia. Most journalists have liberal arts educations. An American liberal arts education fosters in students a sense of elitism. The elitist disconnect becomes more pronounced at the grad school level; and most journalists with national audiences have been to grad school.

Elitism is inimical to engaging, high quality journalism. The voice of an elitist is hard for Americans to listen to. It's condescending. It lacks the sense of empathy or identification that Americans look for in good communication.

People pay (directly or indirectly) for the media they choose to receive information from. If a media outlet isn't meeting their needs -- if they are hostile, elitist, condescending, agenda-driven, or disconnected from their reality, then people find other sources for news.

And that's why newspapers are dying.

chickenlittle said...

Well put Scott.

traditionalguy said...

It is strange for the Traditional Media to lose without a fight. The NEWS angle is still there stronger than ever: Wars, Israel survival endangered, Climategate, Nationalising Health care, Palin's force of nature, massive job loss, Socialism at the helm in the White House...on and on life shattering events in need of analysis and news updates. Yet these insitutions REFUSE to do the real reporting that can save their businesses and engage in hard to do disinformation or just censor information. I give up. Why do they want to go away?