Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watching the print media die

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is the latest paper to bite the dust. I have never read it and I probably never will. I won't miss it either. The fates of those who lost their jobs are more on my mind than what is happening to the fourth estate.

In a shrinking market, players are squeezed out. I did an interview recently where I remarked that in the creative realm, everyone can, so everyone does, but everyone shouldn't.

The last two paragraphs were a long winded way of saying that I'm going to keep putting out records even if nobody buys them because I want to. I'm not going to stop because of market conditions. Instead I will focus on improved quality.


Wendell said...

Hear hear on aiming for quality!

My worry with the print media shrinking/dying/etc. is how much it will affect journalism. Part-time/hobbyist political bloggers can't do investigative journalism like a journalist paid to do so. I'm not familiar enough with the business, though, to propose solutions. :(

forbes said...

I used to work in the media, so I can give you a couple of thoughts. Local community newspapers are often worthless in the muckracking category. They *can* be good at certain basic community reporting.

The reason for this is because the owners and editors usually come from the elite class, and any views that rock the boat aren't accepted. Real controversy is not good for these types of papers.

Then you have the city wide papers that are usually owned by big media companies. They do a bit better but tend not to provide enough context.

The best solution I can think of is not a very good one: funding media projects and just taking the losses.

Wendell said...

Ah, thanks for your insights. Yeah, it does seem that non-profits would be better at this. (Though would they be beholden to their donors?)

NPR was just as crappy as most other larger news organizations in the lead-up to the Iraq war by drinking the shrub admin's kool-aid, IIRC, which pissed me off.

forbes said...

They would certainly be beholden to their donors. There would be a lot of problems, just as there are now. Limiting the size of contributions might help.

Wendell said...

Damn. It seems there's no simple solution, though democracy does thrive on an engaged citizenry in its ideal form. This may include the people knowing the details about an organization's backing and how that might affect the information it produces. Late night pondering fun! I have to read the Constitution again.