In light of the Knight Ridder and Tribune fiascos, I have to laugh at all the mewling about big, bad, media consolidation. The mewlers needn’t waste their breathy angst on media companies getting bigger. The big ones are toppling of their own weight, weighed down by their heritage, habits, and huge costs. Others are forced to open up — see the networks taking their shows to the internet. The irony of the parallel falls of the Tribune and Knight empires is that regulation against consolidation is what stopped Knight from diversifying, at least within media, and finding efficiencies with media cross-ownership within its markets. But the fact that Tribune was grandfathered in, owning one of every medium in Chicago, wasn’t enough to save it.
To those who celebrate that some newspapers will be freed from the yoke of remote corporate parents as they are bought up by local egotists, beware: New cash from would-be moguls and kingmakers in local markets will only stave off the inevitable. To those who want to regulate big media into extinction: Relax. They will die of their own weight.
: SEE ALSO: Jack Shafer, who says that trading the big, bad media conglomerate for the local mogul is not such an enticing prospect.
Everybody’s still avoiding the real necessity: restructing the news industry and its products and services. More later.