Dead paper walking

Dead paper walking

: My friend Merrill Brown just wrote an excellent report for Carnegie on the future of news.

It finally brings together so much of what we’re all talking — and in some quarters, wailing — about these days: young people finding their news in new places and leaving newspapers, new competition from citizens’ media, new expectations of transparency, new financial pressures.

But what Merrill makes clear — to people in the news business, I hope — is that the change is irreversible: There’s no going back. This isn’t just a wake-up call. It’s a two-by-four over the head: Change now. Change fast. Or die.

I’ll write about the piece more later; I’ll be out at meetings all day today and not blogging so I wanted to link to it now.

For the report, Carnegie commissioned a survey; the provocative results are here.

  • HA

    The Exempt Media is dying for one reason. They abandoned journalism in order to advance the Gramscian Marxist agenda. Nobody believes their claims of impartiality any more. The only effect of their impartiality pose is that they refrain from serving up the kind of “blue meat” that Kos, Atrios and Willis regurgitate on a daily basis.
    The reason the left-wing blogosphere has no impact is that they are completely redundant with the Exempt Media. The reason the centrist and right-wing spectrums have an impact is that they provide access to news and analysis that is suppressed by the Exempt Media.
    As an example, I offer the recent scandal at Columbia university. Marxist/racist professors cleared themselves of racism charges and then colluded with the NY Times to suppress the news:
    In an effort to manage favorable coverage of its investigation into the complaints, the university disclosed a summary of the committee’s report only to the Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, and the New York Times. Those newspapers, sources indicated to The New York Sun last night, made an agreement with the central administration that they would not speak to the students who made the complaints against the professors.
    The Sun obtained a copy of the report without the permission of the university administration. Last night, when a reporter from the Sun came to Low Library, the central administration building, for a copy of the report, a security guard threatened to arrest the reporter if she did not leave the building.
    According to one student, senior Ariel Beery, one of the campus’s most outspoken critics of the professors, a Columbia spokeswoman told him that students were not being shown the report yesterday “for your own good.”
    The legacy of Walter Duranty still guides the NY Times and the the rest of the Exempt Media. If the Exempt Media wants to survive, it needs to rediscover journalism. Fast.

  • Clayton Christensen’s book Innovator’s Dilema recounts a dozen-odd of case studies of industrial complexes that couldn’t adapt to new environments. The book explains why: it wasn’t that they didn’t want to, but that their cost structures and sales channels made the shift structurally impossible. So shall it be with with the news industry. You can stitch wings on an extremely eager pig, but it won’t fly… even if you toss it off a cliff.