Speaking of the New York Times and this morning's post, this really irked me in the comments section of the Afghanistan story:
Of the nearly 200 comments NYTimes.com readers left on a very poignant and important story, an editor assigns the vaunted "Editors' Selection" badge to a comment boo-hooing the decline of the newspaper industry.
I wonder if that comment will make its way into the dead-tree version of the Times?
(Nevermind the fact that the unknown editor works for the Times' online crew...)
My sense is that this sense of (impending) loss is all but lost on the large contingent of news consumers who have already given up on newspapers in their paper form.
Pity is not a business model.
I'm of an age that grew up with dead tree media, but I've found that I don't miss it. It really is a horrendous business model from an environmental perspective.
I do worry about quality issues as we shift to all-online media, but I'm generally tearless about the migration.
Change is scary. No matter if you're an individual on the brink of change or an industry, change is still scary - and yet, it's the only way to evolve. I agree, we can boo hoo all we want as paper-media (or "dead tree") struggles and declines, but the fact is that the industry is changing and these outlets can either step up to meet new customer demands or boo hoo themselves into unemployment.
As someone who just moved from print/online to radio/online, I'm curious to know if people realize that print ad revenue finances the vast majority of journalism that they read on the web.
Industry standard (roughly) is that newspapers get about 5 percent of their revenue from online advertising. Another smidgen comes from subscriptions. But the bulk of the money comes from those dead-tree editions that people are increasingly disinterested in (FWIW, I'm currently without a newspaper subscription for the first time in years).
The Seattle P-I, for instance, exists online-only now, with a skeleton crew of reporters. Do they have the resources to take on the six-figure legal bills that can often accompany a Pulitzer-level investigation? Can they afford to take a reporter out of the pipeline for six months to a year to report the story? Time will tell.
My experience has been that the vast majority of people in the newspaper business are willing - eager - to embrace change and evolve. But it's a tough thing to do without a paycheck.
Looks like Jim Lehrer's worried about it, too...