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Postmortem for a Dead Newspaper

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the what-not-to-do dept.

The Internet 219

Techdirt points out a great postmortem for the Rocky Mountain News, a newspaper that ended up shutting down because they couldn't adapt to a world beyond print. While long, the talk (in both video and print) is incredibly candid coming from someone who lived through it and shares at least some portion of the blame. "It seems like pretty much everything was based on looking backwards, not forward. There was little effort to figure out how to better enable a community, or any recognition that the community of people who read the paper were the organizations true main asset. ... The same game is playing out not just in newspapers, but in a number of other businesses as well. Like the Rocky Mountain News, those businesses are looking backwards and defining themselves on the wrong terms, while newer startups don't have such legacy issues to deal with."

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Sad to hear of the RMN (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 years ago | (#29619371)

But, contrary to rumors, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is still alive and well.

They just don't kill trees to put out their paper, sacrificing electrons instead.

Re:Sad to hear of the RMN (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29619555)

They just don't kill trees to put out their paper, sacrificing electrons instead.

*sniff* that's TERRIBLE! *sob* Poor little electrons...

Re:Sad to hear of the RMN (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 years ago | (#29619627)

Well, we tried to sacrifice positrons, but you saw what happened to the Mount St Helens newspaper when we did that ...

Re:Sad to hear of the RMN (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#29619985)

They'll be back, probably. Just keep the circuit closed.

Marketing 101: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619821)

Marketing 101:

Define your company based on the needs of your customers that you are satisfying, not on what you do.

Sorry, this is the first day of first year marketing. If you don't know this, you deserve to go out of business.

Re:Marketing 101: (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 years ago | (#29620225)

already have a degree in that

Re:Sad to hear of the RMN (2, Interesting)

InlawBiker (1124825) | about 5 years ago | (#29620505)

From what I understand the Seattle PI was *always* on shaky ground, even before the Internet came along and took their lunch money. Rumors of their demise have been floating for the last 15 years. I would be interested to know how we'll they're doing in online-only format. I still read their articles only because I know and like their main contributors. But how will new readers find them now? I'm glad I'm not in the news biz.

Several Organizations comes to mind... (1, Interesting)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 5 years ago | (#29619393)

MPAA/RIAA, to name a few (that we love to hate.)

Original Blog Posting (4, Informative)

aembleton (324527) | about 5 years ago | (#29619439)

Can't we link to the original source in the article summary? http://www.johntemple.net/2009/09/lessons-from-rocky-mountain-news-text.html [johntemple.net]

Re:Original Blog Posting (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619647)

I skimmed it. In other words ignore the end users of your product at your peril. If you think you know better than the end user your usually wrong. Sure there are tons of examples of dumb end users. But in the end if you do not do what a majority of your end users want they will find/invent something that does. What are they asking for now vs 10 years ago? If you do not keep re-evaluating what you are selling you usually end up selling something people no longer want. Do people still want a pet rock? Probably a small few do. But you do not want a factory cranking out 300k a month to satisfy a demand that is not there.

With newspapers people want more 'local' stories. Less AP/Reuters shoveled at us. So sites like drudge/fark/slashdot and so on took over that market.

We wanted a place to list our junk for sale and do it cheap. Instead eBay and Craigslist took the market away from them at low costs and better interfaces.

We wanted news to show up instantly as it happened. So sites put up RSS feeds to shove them at us faster. Instead with newspapers you find out tomorrow.

We wanted a way to read just our comics instead of 2 pages we ignored. So we went to the individual comic sites and just read them.

They forgot about the 'why' the people who pay their bills were around. While advertisers probably paid a large portion of the bills. If there is no audience the advertisers will go elsewhere.

The internet dismantled ever reason a person would want a paper piece by piece. Papers let the genie out of the bottle and there is no way to put him back in.

Re:Original Blog Posting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619785)

I'm sorry. A webpage on the Internet will never replace the feel of the morning newspaper in your hand, with a cup of coffee and a danish or bagel within reach of the other.

Pry. cold. dead.

Re:Original Blog Posting (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about 5 years ago | (#29620055)

And a piece of newsprint will never have links embedded in it to get more background on the subject, doesn't have tabs so you can be checking local, regional, and worldwide news with a click, doesn't have video of the event, doesn't let me whip over to Wikipedia to get a quick introduction to topics I'm not up to date on, doesn't let me compare prices between Home Depot/Lowes/Ace Hardware vs. ordering it from Amazon, etc. All while drinking my morning beverage and trying to keep the cream cheese off the keyboard.

Re:Original Blog Posting (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29620231)

It sounds like you aren't really interested in the news, you're more interested in the experience. There are plenty of free papers that are printed and delivered all over the place... why not pick one of those up on your way home? I know around here we have things like The Onion and Westword with ads for local places that allow them to print and distribute the papers for free. That's got your nice dead-tree feel, and we don't have to enact legislation to save those publishers from themselves (which is the only way most current newspapers will continue)

Re:Original Blog Posting (1)

writermike (57327) | about 5 years ago | (#29619921)

I skimmed it. In other words ignore the end users of your product at your peril.

Good point. Newspapers for so long were more authoritarian and, perhaps, sometimes arrogant. We get information to which YOU don't have access. We then present that information to you in a way YOU can understand. YOU need US.

The Internet, at some point, demanded newspapers regard their readers as more than consumers. It seems some newspapers have a problem with that.

Keep in mind, though (4, Informative)

Knara (9377) | about 5 years ago | (#29619443)

That RMN and Denver Post were essentially owned by the same parent company. Wasn't really a loss, given that neither paper has been particularly good for quite a while now.

Re:Keep in mind, though (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 5 years ago | (#29619641)

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Post and the News managed to maintain their separate identities under the Joint Operating Agreement, actually. There really was a loss when the latter shut down. No question, they dug their own graves, but it's still a shame.

Re:Keep in mind, though (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29619825)

I keep seeing RMN and instead of thinking "Rocky Mountain News" I think "Richard Milhouse Nixon". Damn, I'm getting old =(

No; patently wrong (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#29619981)

RMN and DP had issues years ago, so what happened is that they combined the printing/marketing/ads together. It allowed the news portion to compete while it supposedly lowered their costs (obviously not).

You will see that they are owned by 2 different companies:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denver_Post [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_News [wikipedia.org]

RMN died because DP outlasted them. DP is in serious trouble as well. Neither of them had a clue about how to make money except on print.

Re:No; patently wrong (1)

rwade (131726) | about 5 years ago | (#29620459)

Mod parent up -- this is absolutely correct. Scripps' Rocky Mountain News and MediaNews' Denver Post entered into a joint venture, the Denver Newspaper Agency, through which they combined circulation and advertising operations and shared an office building.

Horrible submission (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619449)

Why on earth is this a link to a tiny summary of the actual article?
Here's the article http://www.johntemple.net/2009/09/lessons-from-rocky-mountain-news-text.html [johntemple.net]

Techdirt doesn't deserve the ad revenue for such pathetic summary spam

Re:Horrible submission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619905)

I would have linked to the original, too. But what you said is like saying Slashdot doesn't deserve the revenue for people linking to its summaries of articles. That's not really the point of the website.

BS (1, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | about 5 years ago | (#29619451)

The demise of the print newspaper has a few causes. 1. We live in a 24/7 news cycle, with 24 hour news on tv, cellphones etc. 2. By the time a newspaper is printed & delivered, the "news" isn't new anymore. 3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers. 4. You could learn VOLUMES by the stuff they DON'T put in a newspaper.

Re:BS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619531)

By "very liberal" you must mean "not foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing reactionary douchebag."

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 5 years ago | (#29619613)

By "very liberal" you must mean "not foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing reactionary douchebag."

No, he means "foaming at the mouth" pseudo-left wing reactionary douche bag. If you Americans are going to use the term left or right wing, please use it properly. Democrats are right of center. They are only slightly more to the center than Republicans but there is no popular "left" in the US.

Re:BS (1, Insightful)

AP31R0N (723649) | about 5 years ago | (#29620131)

Eh. Democrats are our left, we'll call them left. Any further left that that and you're moving back to the right (down?). Much of what the rest of the world calls left leads to a different flavor of authoritarianism. Some authoritarian asshat dictators claim to represent the people, some are honest and don't. Left/right is only one axis of something more complicated. Chavez would likely paint himself as leftist, as might much of the world. But he's a jackbooted thug. That's not what "left" should mean, i think.

Hrm.

Hey, give us time! (1)

Wee (17189) | about 5 years ago | (#29620151)

We're new at this socialism thing, man. But we're trying to get up to speed as fast as we can by the looks of things.

-B

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | about 5 years ago | (#29620379)

I think I have to object to your definition of "Center". The democrats and republicans are way too alike for my tastes, but if you're going to say that most of the US is right of center, you've got to decide where you're putting the center. When referencing US politics/voters, I'd call the center somewhere around the middle of the political stances of American politicians and voters. Defining a "global" center seems pretty meaningless for any useful discussion on local politics. Sure, you can say that Holland is generally left of the US. Or you can say that Iran is generally right of the US. But neither of those things mean much for a US-centric discussion.

Relevant to this discussion, about all you can say is that journalists tend to be to the left of the American center. Or that Americans in general tend to be to the left/right of Country X (although I fail to see how that would relate to the death of American newspapers).

I'm sorry, I got side-tracked. How does your post relate to newspapers dying again? You're rated at +5, so I'm assuming that I'm missing something important here.

Re:BS (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29620597)

With enough meaningful information, such that the reader becomes well
informed and can make their own conclusions, the political slant of
the media outlet doesn't really matter much. In this rush to elevate
"objectiveness" it seems that quality was ignored.

News media any more seems all about crass pandering to their percieved
audience. ALL of the news organizations for the most part seem more like
official government propaganda ministries because of this. It is remarkably
ironic considering people like Goebbels and Orwell.

Re:BS (1)

Old97 (1341297) | about 5 years ago | (#29620431)

If you're in Europe, my map says you are to the right of us.

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 5 years ago | (#29619553)

3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

That's a myth concocted by the right to explain why they don't win every election even though they claim they represent a majority of Americans. The only explanation would be someone was "deceiving" all those red-blooded Americans into voting socialist. Journalists, as a class, tend to slant slightly liberal on a personal level (as do people with college educations in general, and I believe in this day and age most journalists have one), but 95% of news, especially local news, doesn't really have much to do with politics, and a lot of the the other 5% they manage more or less to keep their biases out of it. On the national level there are plenty of conservative-leaning newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times.

Re:BS (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 years ago | (#29619765)

No it is true. But they are not Liberal because they are trying to push their views (much like how Fox news does) But they are Liberal as it is easier to report good news.

In very raw terms. Liberals want to change things. Conservatives dont.
So Liberals make news (As they feel this problem needs to be addressed) and conservatives are trying to stop such actions (As the solution of the problem will do more harm then good).
So the news ends up first by targeting the Liberal as they are doing something that is new and news worthy. Then they get the conservatives on the defensive. So in the process of making the news There is a lot of time and effort toward the new idea. And just a little bit explaining the old view.

What that does is creates news where the Liberal Slant always gets more attention then the conservative.

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 5 years ago | (#29620207)

... and conservatives are trying to stop such actions (As the solution of the problem will do more harm then good).

Yes, because things like abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, and equal rights for African-Americans (all things that the "conservatives" of the time were against) were the downfall of the country.

extending your observation (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 years ago | (#29620323)

the very concept of "the news" (as opposed to the olds?) is philosophically a liberal phenomenon

if liberalism is change and conservatism is stasis, you can make the easy deduction that a system in stasis generates no news: nothing changes, so there is nothing to communicate or talk about anything that is "new"

so indeed, the entirety of news generation is entirely the realm of liberalism. even fox news, through the simple act of giving voice to something changing out there in the world, is in the service of liberalism. no matter what the propagandistic slant, merely giving attention to some process of change makes people think about the subject matter, and therefore at least begin the cognitive process of acquiescence to and understanding of change that is necessary, even if they don't like the change

in fact, the most socially conservative groups in this world are distinguished by a conscious effort to protect themselves from "the news": the amish, hasidic groups, funamentalist religious cults in a compound out in the woods... they all wall themselves out from the world, the larger society that is undergoing the healthy, liberalizing processes of change

Re:BS (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 years ago | (#29619959)

3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

That's a myth concocted by the right to explain why they don't win every election even though they claim they represent a majority of Americans.

Yep. It's a self-serving myth that's been pretty thoroughly debunked.

(And, correspondingly, the far left claims that the news has a significant conservative bias. Both are very self-serving myths for the fringe, since they justifies their telling people to ignore the news, and only listen to their carefully shaped and trimmed news, without those inconvenient facts that might disturb the ideology.)

In fact, the actual data shows that newspapers almost always turn out to be very well matched in political slant to their readers. (As should be obvious, since if they weren't, they'd lose readers even faster than they now do.)

Many of the large newspapers that people point to in the US stem from big cities, which have multiple newspapers-- for the most part, these newspapers split the political spectrum, with one newspaper favored by the more conservative readers, and the other favored by the more liberal (e.g., the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald).

Re:BS (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29620353)

Both are very self-serving myths for the fringe, since they justifies their telling people to ignore the news, and only listen to their carefully shaped and trimmed news, without those inconvenient facts that might disturb the ideology.

Sounds almost like a religion...

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 5 years ago | (#29620173)

As someone who studied journalism for years, and work for a newspaper, it is very much the truth. The paper I work for is certainly conservative, but most print media is liberal. What amazes me is most of my friends insist that MSNBC has no slant, while most of my coworkers insist that Fox News has no slant.

When a certain media source matches your own particular views, people tend to think it isn't slanted because it tells you what you want to hear.

That doesn't mean it isn't slanted. Objective journalism is all but dead in this country, because biased news generates more income.

Re:BS (1)

pj2541 (600359) | about 5 years ago | (#29620557)

I call BS on your BS: Firstly, you say there are "plenty" of conservative-leaning newspapers, then go to list all (both) of them. That's not plenty in my book.

Secondly, there have been many studies, even some by the more liberal papers, that show a liberal bias in MUCH more than 5% of "news" reporting. Often the slant is simply by omitting a story that would reflect well on conservatives or conservative positions.

Alas, the journalists come by it honestly, if you have a conservative bias (or even show no bias at all) in journalism school, you will be at least ostracized, and likely flunked out. The liberals (by which I mean well left of center) control our institutes of higher education, and journalism schools are certainly no exception.

Re:BS (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 5 years ago | (#29619563)

Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

Leaving aside the absurdity of the "liberal media" mantra in general ... the Rocky Mountain News was known as Denver's conservative newspaper. And the more they tried to chase the Fox News crowd, the more their fortunes declined. Take that FWIW.

Re:BS (5, Insightful)

Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) | about 5 years ago | (#29619607)

Honestly, I disagree with most of these reasons.

Most of the news on a 24 hour news cycle is old, too. The same stories get endlessly rehashed. Despite the fact that there's more frequent updates and coverage, there's usually not even enough NEWS to fill a 24 hour news cycle. Watch any cable news network for more than an hour and you're liable to hear the same stuff over and over again.

The point about liberal slants may be true for the editorial sections of a few specific, national newspapers, but most small-town newspapers - the ones that are really suffering - are and have always been fairly conservative, particularly in more rural and conservative areas. Admittedly, this may not be the case with the Rocky Mountain News (I'm not familiar enough with it specifically to comment). But for most local newspapers, the people doing the reporting are just that: local, not so-called "mainstream media elite" from the big city, or what-have-you.

The reason newspapers are failing is because advertising revenue has fallen in print media, while the price of advertising online is simply too low to sustain the sort of large organizations traditional newspapers have required. That's it. It's not people defecting from dying traditional media to seek the new golden horizon of genius online reporting or sad dinosaurs who can't keep up with the new times, it is a business issue and little else. It's also the fact that the internet is inherently an international medium, and people want national and international news online. And there's simply no way the Bupkisville Free Chronicler can compete with the NY Times, WaPo, and The Times of London on that front.

Re:BS (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 years ago | (#29620089)

Repeated surveys have indicated that the majority of those working in the "news" business self-identify as liberal. In addition, an even larger percentage are registered Democratic. I stopped reading the local newspaper after I got tired of seeing political commentary in articles on the sports page. I am sure the writer didn't even know he was doing it, he just made some comment using what he considered a failure of a Republican politician as a simile for the failure of the local sports team.

Re:BS (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29620397)

The News was just like the Post is... all they primarily do is "fluff" pieces about local fairs and festivals and travel, and they reprinted AP stories. They don't really highlight if they have any reporters doing real investigative journalism, and they don't give people a good reason to subscribe. And since the people are their product (you have to sell something to advertisers...), they're losing business. It's not hard to understand.

Re:BS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619617)

3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

If that's true, why is it that the RMN went under rather than the Post, when the News was generally considered to be the politically more conservative paper?.

sb

hiya Mr Murdoch! (0, Flamebait)

fireylord (1074571) | about 5 years ago | (#29619701)

can someone please mod Rupert's Astroturfing down, it's making me nauseous

Re:BS (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29619715)

3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

Actually, I'd argue just the opposite. The success of Fox News from a large number of viewers who watch nothing else speaks more to the fact that people will go out of their way and become loyal consumers of "news" that has a distinct slant that confirms the viewers' already conceived ideals. People like news that doesn't give them facts so much as comfortable facts. People like Websites where they can talk to people who don't challenge their ideas and don't make them put in any effort to determine the truth.

Fox News is the epitome of this and is far more focuses on entertainment than journalistic integrity. Heck, they went to court and argued they have no legal obligation to not fire people for refusing to lie on TV and for refusing to kill a story about a health danger to the public. They're legally right too, they have no obligation not to lie to their viewers, but any organization that makes that argument in court is not "news" any more than a Frootloops commercial is. That's not to say some programs on the network don't have some integrity, of course, but the corporation does not.

At one time I thought the internet might open up the world. People would be able to hear views from around the world and directly communicate with those people inexpensively. People could thus gain a wider perspective and understanding. In truth, human nature is such that it has allowed us to self segregate more. People don't even have to talk to so diverse a range of people as live in their neighborhood because they can find an online forum that fits exactly with their beliefs and preconceived ideas and spend all their time talking to people without the discomfort of disagreement. It's much easier to complain about one's favorite villainized segment of our society when one does not actually have to hear them and can just attack strawman arguments one poses on their behalf. There are forums for people who thing the earth is flat or is literally 6000 years old and the people there can safely discuss their nonsense knowing the moderators will ban and remove posts from anyone who challenges it with facts or controversy. People don't want unbiased opinion and Fox is another example of the consumer getting what they want and not what they might need.

Re:BS (1, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 5 years ago | (#29619873)

s/Fox/Faux/
or
s/News/Propaganda/

Fixed it for you.

Re:BS (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#29620417)

I misread your statement at first. Glad you put the or in there... switching both would be wrong. Fox "News" is quite real propaganda.

Re:BS (3, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29620191)

People don't even have to talk to so diverse a range of people as live in their neighborhood because they can find an online forum that fits exactly with their beliefs and preconceived ideas and spend all their time talking to people without the discomfort of disagreement.

Then explain slashdot -- MS vs Apple, the RIAA apologists you see here in any story about copyright, vi vs Emacs, US vs UK, people for the drug laws vs people with a clue, etc.

In this community, at least, you have VERY diverse opinions, arguments, areas of expertise, ages (hell, I'm 57 and there are older guys than me here as well as teenagers). There are even a few girls here, believe it or not!

Re:BS (1)

Kidro (1283296) | about 5 years ago | (#29620395)

There are always exceptions. Also, some people enjoy seeing other points of view, whether it's to broaden their horizons, just to find places to argue or whatever other reason.

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29620487)

Then explain slashdot -- MS vs Apple, the RIAA apologists you see here in any story about copyright, vi vs Emacs, US vs UK, people for the drug laws vs people with a clue, etc.

Well partly some people do like a good argument and a disagreement and to be challenged, they're just a minority. Those people will go out of their way to find places to get a discussion or to try to espouse their beliefs and attack the beliefs of others. Some people go to christian chat rooms simply to tell them they're all idiots for not being atheists... but those people are fairly uncommon. Partly, people still argue with one another, just over comfortable issues once they can assume a like minded. Some people are happy to argue about whether the mantle that covered the heavens before Noah's flood was made of ice or liquid water, once they know they're in a comfortable setting where they won't be ridiculed for their lack of reason or scientific understanding for believing there was a giant flood that covered the whole earth in the first place.

Slashdot is also interesting because it is a subject matter site. People will argue the objective merits of vi and emacs all day, but they know that if someone comes at them with an argument that reading or writing anything but the bible is the work of satan and that they are going to hell because the bible says so, that person will be modded down by the community of modders, sort of protection in numbers for the ego.

In this community, at least, you have VERY diverse opinions, arguments, areas of expertise, ages...

Certainly, but we also filter out a large range of arguments, mostly ones that are not nerdy enough, like faith based assertions, and threats of personal violence. To call the membership of Slashdot diverse is fair in a way, but it is a self selecting group of people who pride themselves on being nerds, that is intelligence. This alienates a huge portion of the population and makes Slashdot readership very atypical. Heck, go down to your local bar and try to have the same kind of conversations as a typical one on this forum. It seems to be that people who value intelligence (a commonality here) are one of the subsets of our population that do like to argue for the sake of the discussion and the value it can bring.

Re:BS (0, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 years ago | (#29620243)

The self righteous sanctimony and distain you have of what is CLEARLY more people than ABC/NBC/CBS and probably CNN combined is interesting. I'd love to compare the literacy of say those that watch what is on those channels to that of what is on Fox News.

The problem with people such as yourself, you can't imagine anyone having an opinion that is different than you, and when you even try, you end up saying that they are ignorant(and racist, and sexist ....)

Take for example the recent march on Washington, who covered it with any depth? If you watched the "main stream" (Urine Stream) news, you may have got a tidbit here or there, with one of the more radical signs of Obama as Hitler or whatever, and if that was the sole source of your "news", you would come away thinking that it was just "20,000" (or a "few") "right wing" cranks.

The problem is, the left does WAY more to marginalize news they don't want reported than say "Fox" does. It isn't just reporting something, it is HOW it is reported. Yeah, it is easy to say "Don't watch Glenn Beck" and then say "He's a racist"(having never watched or heard him) than it is to watch his whole show and take the quotes in context.

And now we have a president that has DUBIOUS connections and continues to surround himself with all sorts of "radical" people who are far outside even Democrat mainstream, and now when people finally realize how RADICAL he is, something only FOX actually reported, people are leaving those other news shows in droves.

And all you can do is insult the "people" thinking your views are superior. Guess what, you're nothing more than an elitist snob, just like the rest of the LEFT.

I don't need a government to rule over me. Sorry, you can take your views and shove it. I'm a libertarian, and a Libertarian, and government is NOT the solution to any problem I know. It is a necessary evil, and does more harm than good.

I'm reminded of the quote by George Washington ...

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Yeah, I'm one of the "right wing bigots" who think all men are equal. I don't presume to know what is best for someone other than me and my family, and I resent anyone who thinks otherwise!

So, take your elitist crap and shove it. I get plenty of news from a variety of sources, and I don't listen to just PBS, and I happen to like Fox News. I also like PBS, BBC, and Bloomberg.

Your whole premise is that people watch Fox News because it fits their views is so elitist and ignorant, and I'll prove it. Do you watch Fox news, and why not?

The funny thing is, you probably don't watch Fox News, because it doesn't fit your views. The very thing you are accusing others of.

Pot, meet Kettle.

On point 3. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#29619717)

The AJC is trying their best here in Atlanta to prove the point, that they are out of touch with their readers.

Case in point, earlier in the year they were looking for a "conservative" writer and asked for opinions. Needless to say they struck down most of the suggestions. All the while claiming they wanted to present all views they were damn sure well not going to allow certain people to express them.

The best summary of just how bad the AJC was, their former editor of the opinion page moved to Washington DC to report directly on how such an amazing election and person will affect Georgia, I kid you not.

and these people wonder why those in the suburbs rarely subscribe.

Re:BS (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 5 years ago | (#29619849)

The demise of the print newspaper has a few causes. 3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

Appeal to Reason was liberal. The Daily Kos is liberal. Air America is liberal. Newspaper-wise, AFAIK, there are no liberal daily newspapers of any appreciable size in the US. It's hard to find a paper left of John Birch.

Re:BS (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 years ago | (#29620095)

Newspaper-wise, AFAIK, there are no liberal daily newspapers of any appreciable size in the US.

The New York Times is a pretty big operation. They even have an international arm dealing their liberal agenda: The International Herald Tribune. Unfortunately, the IHT is often the only serious US newspaper to be found outside the US (McPaper is the usual competitor). That means that "foreigners" and US people who travel are stuck with the liberal view of the US. And CNN is usually the only english-language cable channel in some countries, so it's impossible to avoid. (And if you think CNN is not liberal, consider that they carry "The Daily Show" on the international feed.)

Re:BS (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 5 years ago | (#29620223)

CNN caries conservative commentators, liberal commentators, etc. CNN has perhaps shifted a bit more to the left in recent years, but CNN usually gives each side some air time. When we went back into Iraq, CNN was giving the White House's take, interviewing protesters, interviewing both parties in Congress, and even showing Al Jazeera's take.

I'll never forget during the Atlanta Olympics, I saw CNN do a story that there were reports Ted Turner hired people to physically man-handle the homeless, and forcibly move them outside the city before the Olympics. What amazed me was that Ted Turner owned CNN, and the network had the balls to report against their own boss.

Of course, Ted Turner is rich, and the homeless are not. So nothing happened with the story.

Re:BS (1)

marnues (906739) | about 5 years ago | (#29620571)

As a liberal and a sometimes reader of the NYT, I have to disagree with your statement. I've read plenty of libertarian-slanted news in the NYT. Yes you're not going to find much in the way of socially conservative opinions there, but that's because people at the NYT are intelligent. However, I can guarantee that the NYT does hit all of the economic spectrum.

Also, the Daily Show is not really a liberal show. Just anti-stupid, which thanks to the number of socially conservative and libertarian fanatics, means they pick on conservatives/republicans more often than not. Don't get me wrong, liberals can do stupid things. But there just are the shear numbers of fanatics on the left.

Re:BS (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 years ago | (#29620157)

The demise of the print newspaper has a few causes. 3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

Appeal to Reason was liberal. The Daily Kos is liberal. Air America is liberal. Newspaper-wise, AFAIK, there are no liberal daily newspapers of any appreciable size in the US. It's hard to find a paper left of John Birch.

I take it you have never heard of either the Washington Post or the New York Times?

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about 5 years ago | (#29620085)

3. Most print newspapers have journalist with a very liberal slant, and people don't want that anymore, witness the success of Fox News and online bloggers.

I think the conclusion which is being drawn here is incorrect. Yes, Fox News and online bloggers, etc, are successful, but not because they are conservative. They have become popular because they don't really so much report the news, as try to manipulate it in some way so as to cause people to get emotionally involved with the story. It was only coincidental that conservative outlets were the first to do this.

However, I am seeing this kind of news "reporting" going on with news organizations of all flavors (conservative, liberal, whatever) and at all levels. If you carefully watch any news outlet now, especially TV, you will see them report a news story, then they get a few talking heads to "expound" on the story, and it is done in such a way as to get viewers emotionally charged with the story one way or another. Then, more often or not, they invite the viewer to write in, call in, or otherwise "sound off" about the issue -- which of course the viewers do.

Day-to-day news irrelevant (2, Interesting)

rwade (131726) | about 5 years ago | (#29620543)

The demise of the print newspaper has a few causes.
1. We live in a 24/7 news cycle, with 24 hour news on tv
2. By the time a newspaper is printed & delivered, the "news" isn't new anymore.

Frankly, the day-to-day machinations of government, war, and business are largely irrelevant to most people. Do I really care what congress said about the President's health care proposal today? No, it's not as if I'm going to write a letter to my congressman or to the White House everyday to give them a piece of my mind.

What really matters is the trend -- what's going on with this story in general. Who is for it, who is against it, the arguments for, the arguments against, whether or not one side is full of BS over time is what really matters. I want to know what is happening with the story and TV news' focus on daily press conferences and across-the-aisle battles through press releases are just a distraction from the real story.

I sit through cable news loops whenever I'm at the airport and it's just little sound-bytes of this and that -- I have no idea what the story is by the time CNN moves on. Some guy comes on and says something. Another guy comes on and refutes. I have no idea of who is credible -- the written word has the luxury of time and long attention spans to pull the thread and illustrate whether this guy's point is at all reasonable. TV just doesn't.

TV news is just a distraction.

Newspapers died because they gave away their content online. You can read a reasonable-length, non-long-form online with as much ease as with the print edition. When you give it away for free, people don't renew their print subscriptions. It has nothing to do with bias or some 24-hour news cycle mumbo-jumbo.

Better link (0, Redundant)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29619509)

Here [johntemple.net] is the actual article. The link from TFS is a short, three paragraphs that don't say anything the summary doesn't.

TFA, unlike the link from TFS, is actually worth reading.

Trust is your most valuable asset. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 5 years ago | (#29619515)

Do you know why people are moving away from traditional media? Because it acts like it's better than we are. Blogging has become popular because it's there in plain english, the way we look at things -- and it's accessible and free. I can share it with my friends instantly -- unlike a newspaper which is physical and takes time. With the digital age, all of my friends are only a few feet away from me most of the time. Cell phones and laptops are like spiders -- there's always one within a few feet of you.

Traditional media has forgotten that the most important asset they have is trust -- and accessibility. There is still just as much need today to know what's going on in the world now as there was fourty years ago. But most media is awash in a crapflood of advertisements and profit-oriented behavior, which when people see they reflexively numb their senses. Seriously -- hold a normal conversation with someone and in the middle of it toss off a marketing slogan. If they don't strangle you, did you notice they're about half as smart as they were a second ago? They recover, but the momentum in the conversation is now gone. We don't trust traditional media (GenX and GenY) because it's full of crap and irrelevant to our daily lives -- so we blog and we talk to our friends, and they filter stories they find relevant back to us.

I have friends on facebook that post links of personal interest to their feeds so the rest of us can see and comment on it, and this is the foundation of the new media -- peer relationships. Journalism needs to mesh with this, and the journalists themselves need to get out there and put their reputation on the line in a public and accessible way. I want to 'friend' journalists I like and trust on facebook and then see their stories -- separate from these stupid constricting media websites and the constant crap-flood of advertisements that go with them.

Okay, but how do the journalists get paid? I mean, it costs them time to do the job, right? I don't have all the answers there, because it's not my industry, but I know that having a hundred friends that listen to me about anything related to computers is worth something. And a lot of people here on slashdot are in the same boat.

blogging wastes my time (2, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | about 5 years ago | (#29619773)

I prefer to get news from edited sources. There might be some fact checking then, less bias, and better writing in most cases. Blogging tends to be more like newspaper columns where assume a certain bias and literary style in whom you chode to read.

Re:blogging wastes my time (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | about 5 years ago | (#29619879)

So why do these edited sources keep making factual mistakes, write misleading stories, bury stories that do not suit their political line etc?

Read Reuters for neutral factual coverage and blogs for opinion and analysis. That said I do read a few newspapers and the BBC online.

Re:blogging wastes my time (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 5 years ago | (#29619909)

There might be some fact checking then

But probably won't be. Almost every news story I've been involved with -- either directly, by knowing some of the people involved, or by understanding the technology or science they're reporting on -- has been sensationalist garbage which bears little resemblance to the facts.

I find far more facts and better analysis of them on blogs than in mainstream media.

Blogging tends to be more like newspaper columns where assume a certain bias and literary style in whom you chode to read.

Sorry, but if you think that newspapers are unbiased, I have a bridge you might like to buy.

MOD PARENT UP INSIGHTFUL (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 years ago | (#29619777)

This is the most succinct description of the problem that I have read.

Re:Trust is your most valuable asset. (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 5 years ago | (#29620237)

Blogs are better for trust?

Please point me to your collection of honest, fact-based blogs without editorial bias and a full-time staff of fact checkers. I'd honestly love to see them.

I have no qualms with new media emerging. It is just that all my friends honestly seem to prefer blogs because of their obvious bias.

Re:Trust is your most valuable asset. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29620257)

Do you know why people are moving away from traditional media? Because it acts like it's better than we are.

That's a reasonable hypothesis. I can believe that the average person doesn't want news gathered by people with more resources than them then analyzed by experts with more knowledge than they have. Of course the average person wants to marry someone stupider than they are too. So do you have any sort of support for your hypothesis?

Blogging has become popular because it's there in plain english, the way we look at things -- and it's accessible and free.

Hmm, I think blogging has become popular partly because it is more similar to the reader than mainstream news is. But I don't think that's really a problem with the writing so much as the opinion and analysis injected. Mainstream news tries to present facts and the whole journalistic model of writing all the writers had to master in school is about presenting those facts without subjective interpretation. People like subjective interpretation. It's a lot easier to form opinions as to how something affects you if someone tells you your opinion instead of you having to think. And since there are so many blogs out there, people can find ones that fit in with their already formed biases. They can read the news, but with everything already interpreted in a slant they like. Are you a neo-nazi survivalist? No problem. Instead of reading the facts about some new law, you can just hear about the parts that seem to confirm you beliefs that the jews are screwing you over and it doesn't matter because a violent anarchistic revolution is coming and your investment of all your money into ammunition and canned food was a good idea. The A to B to C of how a credit card reform bill adds to this situation is already constructed for you and you can parrot it verbatim to your buddies.

With the digital age, all of my friends are only a few feet away from me most of the time.

And there's another thing. You can talk to like-minded people on blogs. Your friends can all be on the forums you read and you don't have to talk to all those liberals and blacks at the bar. You can stay home and write to other neo-nazis and you don't have to worry about people telling you you're wrong or an idiot or pointing out your facts are incorrect. Of course obama is half jewish because judaism and islam are really part of the same religion or umm something.

Traditional media has forgotten that the most important asset they have is trust -- and accessibility.

And an almost fanatic devotion to the pope? Actually, once you make yourself the "channel" for a subset of people, trust isn't a big issue. You can outright lie to your readers and viewers and people are so emotionally invested in your "team" being the winning one they won't call you on it. It happens regularly.

I have friends on facebook that post links of personal interest to their feeds so the rest of us can see and comment on it, and this is the foundation of the new media -- peer relationships.

The issue here being, that is media advertising, or circulation, not the research and creation of original news content and expert analysis.

Journalism needs to mesh with this, and the journalists themselves need to get out there and put their reputation on the line in a public and accessible way. I want to 'friend' journalists I like and trust on facebook and then see their stories...

If they're actually presenting subjective news, then the journalist shouldn't be super important, especially compared to the reputation of the publication which vets the articles and makes sure some nutjob isn't making things up. Picking just particular journalists is you self selecting away news you don't want to hear. People already do this to great extent in choosing which newspapers and Websites and TV programs they watch. You're advocating making people easily able to do it more extensively and you know what, it would probably be profitable. That doesn't mean it's a good thing for society though.

Okay, but how do the journalists get paid? I mean, it costs them time to do the job, right?

Median pay is about $50,000 a year. In addition for a decent news article you need someone to vet the article and do fact checking and someone to edit it and prepare it for publication (layout and the like).

I don't have all the answers there, because it's not my industry, but I know that having a hundred friends that listen to me about anything related to computers is worth something.

I'm not even sure the question you're trying to answer. A new model for journalism that takes the professional aspect out of it but still generates content and gets the journalists paid? I suppose we can cut out the fact checking and editing because most people don't really care if their news is accurate and some prefer it inaccurate. I'd still like some professional paid news gathering. We could go the BBC route and create a taxpayer funded independent news organization or two.

Re:Trust is your most valuable asset. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 years ago | (#29620555)

I can believe that the average person doesn't want news gathered by people with more resources than them then analyzed by experts with more knowledge than they have.

If you believe that the journalist writing the stories is an expert in any field in which they write, there is no reason to continue reading your comment. You are patently wrong. They demonstrate this on a daily basis by the errors in their reporting. Talk to anyone who IS an expert in a subject that the journalists cover and see if they don't tell you they see far too many errors.

It's quite an eye opener, to see an event you are personally involved with covered by "the news", and see how often they get it wrong. And yet, most people who have experienced this STILL believe that the journalists don't get it wrong when reporting other news.

One of the least valuable interviews our mainstream media produce is when one journalist interviews another journalist, and yet that's what is happening more and more often as the true experts learn not to talk to journalists because they will be misquoted.

Re:Trust is your most valuable asset. (1)

rwv (1636355) | about 5 years ago | (#29620309)

I want to 'friend' journalists I like and trust on facebook and then see their stories

Facebook is prone to as much advertiser and "Quiz/Game/Application" noise as traditional newspapers. Twitter has a big advantage as long as they maintain the 155 character limit. Those 155 characters are enough for a Headline and a Tinyurl Link. That's your pathway for news.

Check out a "Green" blog related to local news that targets Morris County, NJ [dailyrecord.com] . There are a handful of real, opinionated, intelligent articles that are balanced by these simple Twitter feeds that bring you to other relevant information.

What I don't understand, while we are on the subject, is "Copy/Paste" journalism. For fucks sake... CNN copies the same spelling and grammar mistakes made by AP/Reuters. Can't they at least get a $10/hr copy editor to screen what they publish? That being said... there is NO VALUE in copying an article and pasting it in your blog. Eventually readers will figure out that you are not a SOURCE of information and they will move elsewhere. The national news sites (CNN, NBC, ABC, Faux News) already provide aggregated world news. Therefore, don't attempt to deliver regurgitated/aggregated news at a local level, unless that news somehow affects the local community.

Rocky Mountain (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#29619525)

I bet Rock Mountain Bank just gave away their info and someone robbed them, case closed.

Re:Rocky Mountain Oysters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619829)

Caution: Do not eat the Rocky Mountain Oysters.
(Hint: They're not shellfish.)

MmmmooooOooo!

Hindsight is 20/20 (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29619557)

There are a handful of leader-types.

- The conservative (like this guy). He understands his company's strengths only as a function of what it currently is. He can fortify the company's business in good times.

- The forward-thinker (like *gack* Larry Ellison). He understands not only his own company's strengths in regard to what it is, but also in regards to the changing environment. He can take action to position the company well for the future.

- The visionary (like Steve Jobs or Sergey Brin). He understands both his company and the changing environment and can perceive the changes within the changing environment. He is able to not only strengthen the core competences of his company but drive new business and create new markets.

- The idiot (like Woz (sorry)). They grab on to anything that looks like a good idea and drive it forward without care for business, competition, longevity.

What happens is that every once in a while the idiot will strike it big (Jeff Bezos). Most of the time, these guys go out of business. On the other hand, the conservative leaders will do what they can and most of the time it pays off. Markets really don't change very much, and there will always be winners and losers. All they need to do is try to stay on the winning side as much as possible.

But RMN stuck to what it knew and failed. This is what happens in business. But to look back now and to analyze the failure is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking. Of course it's easy to see all the trends after they've passed. It's easy to see where mistakes were made and how easily it probably could have been to avoid them. But at the time it would have been much more difficult to make the same judgment call.

It was a failure of management to fail to adapt to the changing business environment, but not every leader is going to be a forward thinker and even fewer will be visionaries. You can academically analyze these business cases from now to eternity, but unless you're actually in the leadership chair at the moment of crisis, you'll never know whether you would make the right choice.

Re:Hindsight is 20/20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619797)

Not hard to see where your username came from, certainly...

Re:Hindsight is 20/20 (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 5 years ago | (#29620017)

What happens is that every once in a while the idiot will strike it big (Jeff Bezos).

Bezos strikes me as more of a conservative/forward thinker - he spotted a market hole and exploited it, then expanded it to leverage item identity and third parties, and it worked. Sure, then e3 stuff is a little goofy, but there's only so much you can do with the model of 'sell stuff online'. Also, the focus on durable competitive advantage is anything but stupid.

Community is the asset (1)

gravos (912628) | about 5 years ago | (#29619569)

the community of people who read the paper were the organizations true main asset

Bingo. The same is true of many types of businesses including big blogs and sites like Slashdot. Marketers usually understand this, but it's an easy point to miss.

Re:Community is the asset (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29620115)

the community of people who read the paper were the organizations true main asset

Marketers usually understand this

Considering the marketers making annoying ads, marketers using 1/3 of the TV screen to show an ad while the program itself you're trying to watch is on the other 2/3 of the screen, considering this [slashdot.org] marketing campaign by Microsoft, I'm going to have to say [citation needed].

Newspaper Value (2, Insightful)

colganc (581174) | about 5 years ago | (#29619583)

The main value in newspapers previously was their distribution network. They had a system in place to distribute information. Radio, TV, and the internet all compete with them for information systems. Each one added more competition, lower latency, and broader reach. In short they provided better value. A daily delivery of dead tree is a non-optimal delivery system. It is getting boring hearing about newspapers and TV news dieing. Why care? The replacement is here. It is better, faster, cheaper. It is the internet.

Re:Newspaper Value (2, Insightful)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 5 years ago | (#29619989)

They should have gone weekly, focusing on Denver, Colorado, and Western US interests in the same way that Time/Newsweek/et al focus on US national interests. No one owns that market (yet) and there are enough folks that would pay for it. They could have been a mainstream Westword [westword.com] and people would have continued to pay for it. It would not succeed as a daily. A daily just isn't needed. I doubt the Denver Post is going to last more than a few more years.

Re:Newspaper Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29620117)

But with a newspaper, I can light my charcoal.

Re:Newspaper Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29620401)

Sadly, that is my only use for them as well. But I have a supply of them from my parents. The few times I have gotten a paper in the past year was for the rummage sale listings my wife wanted. Local news is the only reason to get the newspaper otherwise. In smaller towns where Internet-based coverage of the local events are lacking, the local newspaper holds on for the moment.

News of my death have been greatly... (2, Funny)

rcolbert (1631881) | about 5 years ago | (#29619623)

...well, you know. Hey, I'm a big fan of print newspapers. In fact, when I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal Online, they included a handy print copy for me 6 days of the week. Now, of course the print copy is always a day behind what I've already read online. However, just the other day I sold a few items on eBay, and without my print copy handy, I likely would have had to dole out some serious cheddar on bubble-wrap. True story.

The times. Not just a newspaper thing. (3, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29619673)

We're in a unique part of history where there is a huge upheaval in technology - mostly centered around computing. Newspapers are biting the dust, film cameras are biting the dust - digital cameras are basically computers with lenses; new weapons are being developed and I'm sure in my lifetime, guns that use gun powder and bullets will not be used by modern militaries; music playing and purchases is changing dramatically; and there's more. Sure, many of those old technologies will probably stay around, but they won't be mainstream: they'll be something that hobbiests use. There will be a few folks who still use film cameras and there will be a few niche camera producers that will still make the camera, film and supplies. There will still be gun makers for those that still or have to keep using gun powder - or the government will outlaw the new weapons for civilian use. And there may be some traditional newspapers around here and there. But the thing is, things are changing at a fast pace now and eventually will slow down. If you look at progress throughout history there are times where their are huge leaps and changes and then things fo back to a baseline of progress. Some past examples: the Industrial Revolution and the Renaissance,

Re:The times. Not just a newspaper thing. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 5 years ago | (#29620527)

I work for a newspaper that is circling the drain. When I was hired, a VP (who later became our new CEO and Publisher) spoke to us and said that since radio and TV didn't kill the newspaper, then we shouldn't take the internet as a serious threat.

In reality, both radio and TV provided immediate news, but people still enjoyed turning to the morning paper for more in-depth coverage that neither radio nor TV seemed to provide. The internet was a different beast. It provided immediacy, in-depth coverage, and also allowed the end user to more easily and directly voice their opinions.

Print media was so naive, and arrogant that they refused to change until it was too late. Even now, most print media hasn't realized the err of their ways. I suggested in a meeting with our VP of Content Initiatives that we should do live chats, original video, blogs, user comments on stories, running diaries, etc. and was scoffed at.

Today, we have implemented all of those things except running diaries, but only after the paper started circling the drain.

Re:The times. Not just a newspaper thing. (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#29620581)

We're in a unique part of history where there is a huge upheaval in technology - mostly centered around computing

I'm not sure it's quite unique. Yes, it's unique in the sense that every event in history is unique-- it will never happen again quite the same way. However, there have been social/economic upheavals due to new technology before. Even something as simple as the adoption of iron for making tools and weapons instead of bronze brought an enormous impact. The printing press made books available to pretty much anyone. Recorded audio and video has had a big impact in the last century.

So I guess you could say the introduction of computers and the Internet are "unique", just as the printing press was a unique point in history. But this sort of upheaval caused by new technology has happened before, and will probably happen again.

simpler reason based on ad revenues (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 5 years ago | (#29619707)

After the Rocky Mountain News merged operations (printing, delivery, offices) with the rival Denver Post, the Rocky got the Saturday edition and the Post the Sunday edition. Saturday is the big car-ad day, while Sunday is houses and department stores. Car ads migrated to web sites more easily and dropped faster. The real estate cabal still limits how much information the general public can find about houses on the web.

They would have failed anyway (3, Insightful)

bzzfzz (1542813) | about 5 years ago | (#29619731)

I read TFA (more specifically the speech transcript) and I don't believe that the Rocky Mountain News would have been much better off even if they did everything right. There aren't any city-specific news web sites out there that are making anything like the kind of money that newspapers made in their heyday. Like the buggy whips, the telegraph industry, and home coal delivery the business is gone and the new industry that is replacing it is too far removed for a transition to be possible.

Re:They would have failed anyway (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29620403)

There aren't any city-specific news web sites out there that are making anything like the kind of money that newspapers made in their heyday.

The question is - why not? A newspaper's primary revenue stream comes from advertisers, so why aren't online editions making as much as paper editions?

Are there fewer "eyeballs" out there to read the advertising? No, actually, by going online you increase your readership.

So the only answer is that advertisers aren't willing to pay as much per reader for online editions as they are for dead-tree editions. But that just raises the question: why are online advertisements worth less than printed ones?

If we assume that the goal of advertisements is to raise awareness of products, then each pair of "eyeballs" should be worth the same, regardless of whether they're viewing the ad on a piece of paper, or on a computer screen. So the question then becomes

Are online editions charging too little for advertisements, or are dead-tree advertisers charging too much?

Either advertisers have realized they were being gouged by newspapers (which means that if the internet were to go away tomorrow, newspapers would still be in the same situation they are now), or newspapers need to charge more for advertising in online editions.

What Rocky Mountain News had going for them.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619753)

From a printing standpoint - they had a newspaper that was printed and folded in a book format - so you could grab a copy, open and read like a book without having to pull sections out etc. Something which I thought was unique at the time (compared to other newspapers in the area). Personally I had purchased more copies of the Rocky Mountain News due to this factor alone... which made reading the paper experience a little more convenient.

It IS NOT about "community" (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | about 5 years ago | (#29619755)

Dead-tree newspapers are dying for one simple reason: All the news anyone could ever want is available for free on the internet. Just a Google search away. The whole idea that a newspaper can survive by catering to the "community" (either in real-life or online) is stupid. It's something to make the investors/owners feel better as their doom inevitably approaches.

I've thought about it a lot, and I don't think there is any workable "defense" against free news sites. The newspapers are all going to die, or at the very least, shrink radically. Even if they start really producing some great, exclusive content, it isn't going to help for long, and it isn't going to help them regain their fortunes.

The news world has changed.

Newspapers didn't die because they were primitive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619839)

They big argument against newspapers on Slashdot is this perception that they are low tech. I know personally the reason I stopped reading a daily paper had nothing to do with the internet. I stopped years before the internet got relevant for a few good reasons. First was far too many ads. In a major city like LA or New York you got a daily paper the size of a small phone book for a handful of stories you actually wanted to read with the bulk of it being ads. The Sunday papers were even worse. Also newspapers were where you went to get the whole story and not the fluff you tended to get through television. That changed and the quality of stories and reporting dropped like a rock. I saw it happen early on with my hometown paper, I come from a very small town. Back in the day they covered national news stories but by the end they were more like a high school paper. I found gradually with the newspapers I was reading the relevant stories got rarer and rarer and the quality of the information wasn't as good as I was getting on the evening news. I often found there were no more than two or three stories that interested me and some times there were none. The internet was the death blow for the papers but they were weakened before the internet came along. The decline was apparent back in the 80s and revenues have been falling for 20 years or more. The reasons for the decline are hard to put a finger on because blaming even TV doesn't make much sense because TV news was decades old when the newspapers started their fall from grace. In the end it may be more the newspaper's fault than technology itself. Focusing more on ad revenue and not on news itself weakened them and made them open for failure. Once they were the only source of news, then they were still the best source of news and finally the became a poor source of news. Their final death blow was easily available news and the need for news on demand but those things weren't the root cause of the newspaper's fall from grace. Most people on the site probably don't remember a time when newspapers were your primary source of news. Most thing things are better now but the truth is the quality of news is appalling. Things have gotten so bad most consider blogs a source of news, they don't in any way report news they are purely predigested information and mostly opinion and not news. There are no standards for blogs. Even web sites like CNN are shockingly bad. It's hard to find an article without typos. In an age of spell checkers they actually post most stories with typos. That's beyond embarassing. In the old news days a single miss-spelled word or mistake in a story was a black mark for an editor. On line news is largely free of editorial oversight. The death of newspapers shouldn't be celibrated but mourned. TV news has become news bunnies and male models and on-line news is so chaotic that there's no way to separate fact from fiction. The death of newspapers is in some ways the death of news.

Re:Newspapers didn't die because they were primiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29620489)

I find it amusing that you misspelled celebrated as "celibrated" right after ripping on CNN for their typos. If you are an editor type, I expect you to give yourself some lashings for that...

Papers Still Strong in Canada (5, Interesting)

kitezh (1442937) | about 5 years ago | (#29619851)

Is this problem with traditional newspaper a US-only phenomenon? I heard yesterday of a recent study [ottawacitizen.com] of newspapers in Canada which actually showed growth in their industry. What do others see in their country?

Re:Papers Still Strong in Canada (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | about 5 years ago | (#29620315)

That's simply due to the available medium... if the Yukon Quest didn't have such high latency, more people would probably use digital news sources.

All ink on paper printing is the same way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29619855)

In the USA you have three major players and a who lot of little guys all fighting over the same pie. The big guy's strategy is to buy up the little guys and the little guys just duke it out until there is one per area. Then they start all over as the number of jobs in the service are shrinks and they need to expand. Eventually there will only be two huge printers specializing in one-to-one mailings and labels and a whole lot of little mom-and-pop copy shops running presentations, reports, and books. At the end there will be nothing and the end is near, brother.

You get what you pay for... (4, Interesting)

dtolman (688781) | about 5 years ago | (#29619963)

That is true for both the time your paying for and the money you are asked to pay.

A blog dashed off in a few minutes (or hours), will never compare to the in-depth reporting that most newspapers still actually deliver. For that I'm willing to pay (and do).

If newspapers ever died, they would drag all the other mediums that have news down with it... most tv/cable/radio/internet copy I've ever seen is lifted from an old dead tree newspaper.

Not to mention - some of us LIKE real news. You know, stuff that isn't about sports, or celebrities, or the horoscope, or the comics, or crap like that. The only hard news you get out of blog posts are just glorified wire reports - sure I can find out about big events like an earthquake, but where am I going to find out about corruption in China? Or inflation in Zimbabwe? Stuff that is ongoing, slow, and less sexy - that require coverage over years. Cable news gave up stories like that a long time ago - all that's left for that in the US is PBS, NPR, and the big print (NY Times, WSJ, etc).

Interestingly - I have noticed that some print media is doing well (at least round me), the hyper-local weeklies that cover individual towns and villages in my area (as opposed to the area at large). Another area completely un-served by the web.

That's not REAL news (2, Insightful)

pnuema (523776) | about 5 years ago | (#29620427)

That's polished news - news that appears well researched, articles that are well written. I'm not sure what your experience has been, but every news story I've ever been even tangentially involved in has been hopelessly wrong on many counts.

Blogs are all about the comments. Yes, it may start with a wire feed. But soon after, you'll get a post from someone who is much closer to the situation than the original poster, who can share real insight on the topic. Then someone else with familiarity comes and corrects a piece that the knowledgeable commenter got wrong. As the comments on a well-read blog build, the real story emerges. THAT is real news - input from dozens of intimate sources, aggregated into a whole. Figuring out what is really happening takes effort - but a good blog can do the work that a single reporter would take months to do in just a few hours.

For example, it was reported a couple of days ago that the public option was defeated in the finance committee. Major news sources pushed it as a real story, when the truth was it was known by insiders that the public option was never going to come out of Finance for weeks or months. There are 4 other committees in the senate that have passed bills with the public option in it. Bloggers on sites like Dailykos can give you all the inside baseball of what is happening with health care reform, far better than any of the main stream media.

Almost never read the paper. (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 years ago | (#29620139)

I used to read the paper every day. I had a ritual: Comics first followed by editorials, national/world news and then local news.

Then I began reading my comics online. You can get all of the major newspaper comics for free online via comics.com or gocomics.com. Then, of course, there are tons of great Web Comics authors that don't appear in the papers. I'm definitely reading more comics now than I ever did during my paper reading days.

For editorials/opinions, nowadays, I end up going to blogs. By reading various blogs, I can get a wide range of opinions on a subject. Heck, even social networking sites like Twitter are good for this. Though the opinions might be only 140 characters long (or might be a link to a longer opinion), I get opinions from many more people than just my local newspaper's staff.

For national/world news and local news I browse Google News and some local blogs. Again, I get many more stories than my local paper would usually print.

In the end, the only thing I really keep my subscription for is the Sunday ads/coupons. I know I can get the ads online, but it winds up being easier to get them in one easy to flip through pile. And electronic coupons exist, but haven't overtaken newspaper coupons just yet.

We get our paper on Thursday through Sunday only because the paper gave us Thursdays and Fridays free. Otherwise, we'd be down to weekends only. (Sundays only didn't save that much money.) However, if we could buy a "weekly ads and coupons only" packet instead of having our paper subscription, we definitely would!

Not much "News" in a Newspaper any more (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29620283)

Take any daily paper, from any city in the U.S. and measure how many column inches are actual news articles.... now subtract the number of inches that are from A.P. or direct pulls/quotes from other news papers, blogs or web sites, leaving only the news actually written reporters employed at that paper. Is that number greater then zero? If not - enough said, but if it IS some real content, do the same thing from the same newspaper, but from an edition from 10 years ago....then 10 years prior to that...notice a trend?

Let me make this clear: (2, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | about 5 years ago | (#29620303)

"There was little effort to figure out how to better enable a community, or any recognition that the community of people who read the paper were the organizations true main asset...."

Let me make this abundantly clear: The above statement is 100% bullshit. My local paper, the Ann Arbor News, also went tits up. Over the last two years, the paper had opened comments sections on the majority of its stories to enable the aforementioned pipe dream. End result? The trolls moved in and feasted like rats in a corn silo, the nut jobs flooded the forums with "facts" on every story from free republic and the knock offs, and the signal to noise ratio plummeted. Now the paper has relaunched as annarbor.com, and the solution to the above has become: censor comments, and allow the newspaper staff to wade right into the thick of the mud. Fantastic.

When I see what has happened to old media sites that get into "Web 2.0" I feel like a WW1 vet being told by a fresh out of west point grad that "trench warfare 2.0 will revolutionize war as we know it!"

I don't really *want* to engage with the community when I go hunting for local "news", I don't *want* to hear from the friend of the victims brother-in-law who got arrested for B&E two blocks from my house. And most of all I don't want the most most useless section of the newspaper (Op-ed) to become the foundation of our "new media." Report, and leave me to use my gray matter to formulate my own opinions. If I'm at the site, the I'm there because I want local news. Period. Well researched, well reported, well digested, local news. It doesn't exist on TV anymore, i don't think it will ever exist on the web.

Stop Diluting Our Terminology (1)

Cyner (267154) | about 5 years ago | (#29620409)

Running your business like it's 30 years ago is not a Legacy Issue. It's just plain stupidity, you'll find it in plenty of businesses, and the business doesn't have to be 30 years old to have someone at the helm who wants to run it that way.

A legacy issue is having to support customers (or vendors) who insist doing things the same way they did 30 years ago. The reason this news paper failed was they they were the "Legacy Issue" to their customers; hence they were replaced.

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