Newspapers need a Quick Death

Newspapers have been downsizing for months. In response to falling sales, whole departments have been pared back. Seemingly to the bare minimum. For the last month or so, the end results of this strategy have been clearly revealed. Gutter journalism. The rise & rise of the utter moron.
I would rather get my news from someone who is being paid and is therefore presumably accountable. My attitude appears to be almost irrelevant. On the whole, what I have seen from (traditional) paid journalism is irredeemably amateurish. I no longer care for it.

Death to the newspapers. The sooner the better. 2015-2020 is the estimate I agree with as to the date of death. Boycott, boycott & may the date be brought forward.

Many people, including myself, read the newspaper online. I will never pay a cent to do so. There are enough ads online that this should pay for itself. Bloggers earn their money from traffic etc. The new model will seamlessly replace the old model. There is ample room for professional journalism in this new model.

Newspapers can easily survive as a digital hub. Articles, photos etc can be accessed & backlinked. This is their present online purpose. Don't buy the broadsheet, read it online. They will be forced to give us individually tailored front page news. A massive win if you ask me. The garbage we do not consider as news can lie in My Back Pages

Previously, I was concerned about the end of traditional media. Now I await the death knell.

To protect from financial collapse, a hilarious proposal has been considered. Newspapers are non-profit organisations. This would also mean that newspapers would be unable to run political advertising (including editorials). Just gets funnier.

Good 'ole Rupert is planning to charge online user's of his newspaper. "News Corp is going to make online customers pay to access its websites some time before the end of financial year 2010."

What a dufus. Talk about an old crony out of touch with reality. The moment that happens, any links of theirs I use will be deleted. This would be representative of bloggers worldwide.

Protecting photos is stupid. My desire is to link photos, not upload them. When I find a site that does not allow me access to its photos (for free, obviously) I download the photo then upload it manually. I figure the lack of access is the dumbest move possible on the internet. It defeats the purpose. Secondly, all obvious ownership is lost the moment a photo is not properly linked (as described). The photo owner has shot themselves in the foot. Can't protect one from their own stupidity. My primary desire is not to rob people of their work - becomes meaningless very quickly. None of the photos on this site are, or ever will be 'mine'.

Read a bit of the article (I got very bored) & the talk turns to 'value-added content'. Whatever, numbskulls. Stop treating us as fools. In my puny internet experience, these blogs I write are next to useless. A way more profitable model is to display a single page of bikini pics. 5 or so. Doing so is far more sensible in the pursuit of profit. I have learnt this in a manner of weeks. One need not be a blogger to understand this most basic internet reality.

Turn the above paragraph around to News Corp's experience. They are fully aware that quality journalism (not trying to insinuate that my content is quality, but I obviously believe it anyway) doesn't sell. They would be fully aware that consumers would not pay for regular news online. So, they will try to 'tailor' it. I have no problem with this approach, it is a positive for the consumer. However, I wager that most of this tailoring will be surface. Let's say, for example's sake, that I am a paid consumer of News' websites. Knowing my age, sex & country would be sufficent. Front page article would have to be a bikini pic or something similar. How else would they target my demographic. Paris Hilton's latest sex video? They would have to do something pretty bloody special to keep me (no choice but to resort to garbage journalism). It just won't work. I don't pay for 'added' content as it stands. As much as I like internet porn, not a cent has ever, or will ever leave my wallet for it. News, well that's much lesser content - payment would never enter the equation. Treat us like idiots and watch your 'fabulous' newspaper drown quickly. I have never gone near anything requiring payment on the internet. To do so would mean one has poor searching skills. It can always be found for free elsewhere.

Still on the article, it went into TAB vs Betfair. A legitimate issue from a business sense. Betfair pays less taxes, and is therefore more competitive than TABs. The problem here is state law, as alluded to. However, from a punter's view, all the arguments outlined are crap. All a punter should care about is the payoff on their bet. TAB typically pinches 7.5%, Betfair 4%. Both of these figures are way too high. It is a product of what business would call the 'competition of choice'. All bogus. Much better for the punter would be if one of these entities bought out all the others. A lower house % could be offered. (Ideally, a 50% bet should be $1.99. Yes, I can dream.)
As an example pushing News Corp's selling of online media, it was very poor. Using the same argument I have just used, it would be better if News Corp was swallowed by a larger company. What idiots the spokesmen are.

Rupert, retire now. Or die now. You are a greedy pig. Yes, one may argue this is not necessarily to line his own pockets. It is to protect his dwindling News Corp empire. Let your son, Lachlan, take over immediately. I have no idea, but I would place another wager that he would abandon his father's foolish plans immediately. Rupert is doing a massive disservice to his son, perhaps unknowingly. The only possible exception is the Wall Street Journal, as the article says. I consider this different, as it is business news. I think people would be willing to pay bucketloads for it. (You are welcome to pick apart the obvious contradictions in this stance on 'business news' - what is it? how is it different? etc, but it still seems like plain vanilla to me after thinking about it. Paying other people in the hope money will be mysteriously made from this transaction is a long established con/reality.)

By all means, set up the News Corp portal to be individually tailored. This results in better targeted ads etc - more revenue. The mere fact that they have not done so already (for free) shows how far behind the ball they really are. Literally, a bunch of amateurs in the new world of the internet. Goodbye & good riddance old fuddie duddies. The Australian (News Corp's national paper) is by far the worst online portal of all the major newspapers in Melbourne.

Never, ever pay to get sensationalist crap delivered though your web browser. The idea is disgusting in almost every point.

Paragons of Virtue they are. The mighty fine chaps from News Corp. James & Rupert. Stellar Champions of the free market. Just imagine for one moment, they conjure. You - yes, you - through sheer determination & talent could deign to enter the media jungle. Strike it Rich if the cards are played right.

Most interestingly, the debate was never framed in this manner. That would have been my spin. The backward cowboys from News Corp failed to see beyond their own interests.

Father & Son (as a minor correction, he is equally as keen) called for the dismantling of State Media to allow them to compete. More Fox News Anyone?

Furthermore, the buffoons will attempt to stop anyone using their material online. They claim to seek to remove their newspapers from public search engines. If this is not a dying man babbling, please inform me what it is.

The greatest problem with the course that News Corp has charted is this:
As they inevitably crash & burn, News Corp will devote some of it's diving assets toward dismantling State media. (This will be done at the expense of it's own survival.)

Goodbye News Corp. Your majority owners have declared your death years in advance. In the poorest act of public business management in 2009. The history books will have an absolute field day with this story.

Further reading:

Ted Turner predicts the death of newspapers. In 1981! Kind of undermines my stance.

A blog piece with much greater research.


  1. Hayley1:46 PM

    If newspapers die off and are only online, what will we wrap our breakables in when we move? I'm not paying for bubblewrap!! Newspapers also make great mulch and aid as a layering in worm farms. Not everyone is gung-ho for everything to be technological. I for one like talking to my newsagent every couple of days. Do you really hate society that much that you want no personal contact with it anymore? Move to a fucking island then!!!

  2. I fail to see what having human contact has to do with an existing newspaper. That's good if you like talking to your newsagent. It has nothing to do with hating society either. Why don't you go down to your ISP every few days, pay a few dollars & have a chat? It is a silly angle. In isolation only, your point is reasonable. (ie it is better to have human contact than none - but nothing to do with newspapers.)

    Would you pay to read the newspaper online? I believe you have answered no, as I have. Newspapers are doing everything they can to cut costs. Going paperless is the most obvious step. Surely you have seen the e-readers that Amazon etc are selling? The newspaper in print form can only get smaller & smaller - while the consumer pays the same price. Enjoy being ripped off while others get the exact same content for free.

  3. Jessica3:48 PM

    Newspapers are dying because the general public is too stupid to be able to comprehend language and concepts past 3rd grade, to witless to care about anything but who brittny is stuppin, to lazy to read anything more than a sentence and too self centered to care about anything other than what directly affects their momentary comfort. they would rather get their "news" from the national enquirer and slavishly follow the blogs of somebody spouting opinin and tripe than support dedicated, traditional and honest journalism.

  4. I laugh at your description of 'dedicated, traditional and honest journalism'. I can only gather you didn't bother reading the article, just responded reflexively to the title. In summation - the newspapers as they presently exist are perfect for you.

  5. Luddites of the world unite . . .

    Everytime a new technology emerges people assume that it is the death knell of society. The assumption that human inventiveness and need for social interaction cannot overcome the disappearance of newspapers or any other technological changes is pessimism at its worst.

    I have no doubt that with the emergence of newspapers in the 19th cent. people were crying the end of civilisation. People would no long get their information through social interaction with elders, town cryers, priests and politicians etc, instead they would now go to a shop, engage in a commercial transaction and then read in isolation. . .

    Is the web really killing journalism or is just encouraging an entirely new type of journalism to emerge?

    The newspaper is a relic of the industrial age. Advertisers provide copy and cash, a few experts generate the news of the day, huge factories print them at a predetermined time and frequency, they are trucked around the country, purchased, read, issues discussed, maybe the odd letter sent to the editor, then thrown out.

    The idea that a particular technology is the only place that intelligence, quality and professionalism can exist is ridiculous. Whatever the medium, it will be used for both the most enlightened and trivial discussion, simultaneously.

    For the first time discussion, feedback and debate can be instantaneous and shared by those anywhere. Anyone with the time and inclination has a platform to communicate (although no guarantee that anyone will listen). Niche ideas can be generated to an international audience because they do not have to be disseminated by a large institution with the access to highly expensive technology and infrastructure.

    Newspapers aren't dying because everyone else is stupid, they are dying because they don't make sense anymore, because the 'general public' (whoever that is) are moving on.

  6. Very well said. New technology scaring people in to believing the end is nigh is far from new. I entirely agree that it is a lazy attempt to overblow the importance of the old tech, while dismissing the relevance of the new tech. Humans are incredibly adaptable, we are underselling ourselves with fear. The example about the advent of newspapers is excellent. If one wants quality on the net, just search around a bit - there is plenty there (alongside plenty of crap as ck2 said).

  7. Darryn3:44 AM

    soon to be 2 page tabloids for the same price lol

  8. Its a waste of paper. Imagine how many jobs will be lost in the print industry. Engineering of the machines that print the paper etc. Great topic. Journalists are fine. There will always be journalists. Everything after print and circulation will be screwed. All these people will have to re-skill or find a new job. Massive impact. Glad Im not in that industry.

  9. Cheers shorts & thanx 4 the return visit. I'd be packing myself if I was in the print industry. Newspapers, books, advertising & even magazines are heading in the digital direction. I can't see much future either. Journalists are totally fine. The few who may be worried are the few who will be unable to adapt.

  10. I will not shed a single tear as they fade away...

  11. My dear

    You are clearly living in a very insular little world, in which everyone (who matters, right?) owns a computer.

    Understand that this is the utter peak of the economic strata you are moving in (and, yes, myself too). You may not give a blue fart whether the guy in the reservation or the guy downtown gets the news, but believe me, 911 was not only mourned by that elite group of humanity that has access to electronic media! Wars don't only get waged by the computerati, and bombs don't only fall on the hi-techrons.

    I would suggest that you subscribe to a major newspaper for a while to get your mind out of your little island and get an idea what's really going on in the world while you hack away at your keyboard.

    And no - I'm not a journalist myself...

  12. The issue is much greater than Computers vs Newspapers. You seem to have missed the important point that the newspapers themselves favour online content over paper fare. They just need a way to get it to pay. That is their problem.

    Any other points you raise are mere distractions.

  13. Britt3:55 AM

    would save tons of trees

  14. I've seen another of your comments, AiQ. I will address your points, you appear genuine.

    Digital vs Paper.

    A valid issue only in a small sense. We are moving in a peak economic strata, I agree. However, the digital delivery need not be by computer. It can be to a TV, radio, phone or even an electronic wristwatch. These do not have to be internet enabled to receive text - eg News. Text is a simple medium requiring little energy etc for electronic material. So, a receiving device is in the hands of 99% of the population.

    I don't believe the guy on the reservation would have a problem receiving this. Homeless people would be the concern for mine. As it stands, Cash is the major concern for receiving news. This will never change as they are commercial in output. The only exception is state-run media, which bend over backwards to deliver news to every element of the population. I believe your argument should focus more clearly on this issue.

    Subscripition to a major newspaper? No, never again. I try and follow state-run news, and only catch the commercial junk for entertainment. Often to amuse myself with the angle they have taken. I find the parallel you have taken between receiving a newspaper and living on a little island most spurious. I get news from other services, quite simply. The parallel you have sketched is somewhat disturbing in it's simplicity.

    9/11 - From the other side of the world. 9/11 was the largest media circus I have witnessed. All of our local stations beamed in for 24/7 coverage. The public lapped it up. This set up the template for crappy news coverage. Any other 'major' event was treated the same - 24/7 coverage. Cheap, cheap TV - piped in direct from The major US networks. An absolute bonanza.

    I believe that most people got their 9/11 news direct from the TV/radio. The newspapers are always going to be a day/half a day behind.


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