What\’s Wrong With American Newspapers

This John McCain thing, he and the lobbyist. Read this in The New Republic if you\’d like to know what\’s wrong with the American newspaper industry.

Layer upon layer of bureaucracy, months of dithering about whether to publish a story or not.

At the end of it, after all of this carefulness, we still don\’t know either whether he boffed the bird or even whether the reporters think he boffed the bird.

C\’mon guys, get with the program. A little more news and a little less navel gazing please?

I thought this was superb:

She had spent just six months at the Times and recorded only four bylines before accepting an offer to return to her former employer as an editor overseeing the Post\’s accountability coverage of money and politics.

Writing four pieces in 6 months is the workload? Shit, sign me up for that!

Makes me think that there is money to be made in the US newspaper industry. Hack the number of hacks back to something more reasonable, where those employed to deploy words do so, ooooh, now let\’s not be too harsh, say every other day? Better than having someone employed , the justification for said employment being their ability to make words on the screen, putting said words on the screen once every 6 weeks, no?

2 comments on “What\’s Wrong With American Newspapers

  1. Are there non-market barriers to entry? I assume there mustbe, otherwise the reading public would switch to other ‘papers or import them from other states. Laws or taxes?

    Tim adds: The barriers to entry always used to be economic. A huge (well over a third last time I checked it) part of revenues is the classifieds ads section. As with e-Bay mopping up the other auction sites, this is the sort of thing which naturally gravitates to a monopoly position. If you’ve got more people who read your classifieds then you’re going to get more advertisers etc. The second is the sheer size of the place. Papers tend to be monopolies in one city. Huge local coverage and those classifieds. The LA Times, even though it’s now available there, really isn’t a substitute for a San Diego newspaper. Certainly not in the manner that The Times is for The Telegraph.
    We’ve had a competetive national market for a century now, using the trains as the distribution system. They simply haven’t.
    It could be argued that with hte net they are actually facing serious competition for the first time: thus the bleating from them.

  2. Harsh. Very harsh.

    The NY Times has a specialist correspondent who manages to push out two stories a year. Four in six months is utterly reckless, and the poor love probably needed a rest. She’ll be older and wiser now.

    In American print journalism, one must learn to pace oneself.

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