Tipping point (continued)

Tipping point (continued)

: More evidence that we’re at the tipping point in media (see earlier posts here and here):

: The Economist marvels at Rupert Murdoch’s speech to newspaper editors:

The speechóastonishing not so much for what it said as for who said itómay go down in history as the day that the stodgy newspaper business officially woke up to the new realities of the internet age. Talking at times more like a pony-tailed, new-age technophile than a septuagenarian old-media god-like figure, Mr Murdoch said that news ìprovidersî such as his own organisation had better get web-savvy, stop lecturing their audiences, ìbecome places for conversationî and ìdestinationsî where ìbloggersî and ìpodcastersî congregate to ìengage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions.î He also criticised editors and reporters who often ìthink their readers are stupidî.

I, too, said the speech will be seen as a tipping point.

: Ruth sends me a link to George Will’s column tomorrow:

If you awake before dawn you probably hear a daily sound that may become as anachronistic as the clatter of horses’ hooves on urban cobblestones. The sound is the slap of the morning paper on the sidewalk.

The circulation of daily U.S. newspapers is 55.2 million, down from 62.3 million in 1990. The percentages of adults who say they read a paper “yesterday” are ominous…

Perhaps we are entering what David T.Z. Mindich, formerly of CNN, calls “a post-journalism age.”

No, I think we’re entering a new journalism age.

: Will quotes the latest issue of the Wilson Quarterly, which I’m headed to a newsstand to buy now. The cover story: The Collapse of Big Media.

  • I couldn’t help but appreciate this rhetorical jewel at the end of George Will’s column:
    “The future of the big media that the young have abandoned is not certain. But do you remember when an automobile manufacturer, desperately seeking young customers, plaintively promised that its cars were ‘not your father’s Oldsmobile’? Do you remember Oldsmobiles?”
    I must say that the conservatives have some damn good rhetoricians. I wonder if George Will will be the last in that tradition of great rhetoricians/apologists for inequity that stretches from Edmund Burke, to Russell Kirk, to William Buckley?

  • Tom

    Thanks for all the work you have done on the tipping point. You have pushed the conversation to the next level.

  • Satellite radio? It’s hard to take Will’s anti-authoritarian authority seriously when I listen to podcasts on the way to work every morning. Isn’t satellite radio analogous to the rise of cable TV, TV that we now refer to as mainstream? Reminds me of when I was a kid and adults would use “not” as in: “you’re funny… NOT”, to try to sound relevant to kids. Maybe that’s what Murdoch means by digital immigration.

  • Fresh Air

    It’s important to understand that it’s not so much the delivery method of paper and ink that’s outmoded. It’s the people in the newsrooms, their arrogance, biases and condescensions, and their closed-loop, Pauline-Kael groupthink. The reactionary Left, more than ever, is the only point of view we receive from big-city newspapers today.
    The current rate of attrition is much higher than it has been (1-2%) year vs about 6%. I think this can be chalked up in large part to those who believe they’ve been lied to since the beginning of the Iraq War tuning out.
    Until they get some balance and common sense in the newsrooms, the slide will keep accelerating. The real question is: Does anyone really care?

  • AST

    This is why Fox News is No.1 on cable news. He understands that serving markets is the key to business. The old media have ignored a huge demographic for years, and when Rush Limbaugh got rich by tapping that unmet demand, their response was to try to find something dangerous about what he’s doing.
    They assumed that they had a captive market. Bad idea.
    I just started reading Rather Dumb by Mike Walker. He quotes from Rather that journalism is “a light on the horizon. A beacon that helps the citizens of a democracy find their way.” That quote explains what’s wrong with Dan Rather and the rest; they think that they know the correct path for everybody and are marking it with a beacon.
    What most people want and need is a searchlight or a floodlight that lets them see the whole landscape so that they can make their own choices. The failure of media to provide that comprehensive view and to respect their customers’ intelligence will keep them stuck serving a shrinking market. The future is aggregation, not necessarily scooping your competitors, who are now more likely to be non-journalists than ever before.

  • While it’s clear that the MSM is losing its monopoly on COMMENTING on the news, who is going to do REPORTING?

  • Speaking of the obvious, no???

  • I remember reading that speech by Murdoch and thinking quite impressively of it. I remember going to a journalism conference and meeting an editor at CNN, though the name escapes me. We were all having a roundtable discussion and asking each other questions, very nice and polite stuff. Until I brought up blogs and how the big media stations provide superficial coverage of complex events. Let me just say, holy crap, I could sense his hands seeking to reach in and rip out my soul.

  • Jon

    It is a sad state of affairs indeed where the leader manufacturer of faux news is seen as heralding the new post-journalistic age.
    To see just one of the implications of the Murdochian age, see:
    “The Potemkin President.”

  • Somme de lette

    God, I wish I’d quit following links here from Instapundit. I stopped a long time ago when all the posts were either blogging about blogging or kissing Howard Sterns little p****.
    Seems nothing has changed.
    And like the idiot I am, I came back.

  • Dennis Mosher

    At some point you are going to have to stop ranting on and on about blogging being the “next big thing.”
    Jeff, it’s boring. It’s been said, over and over.
    There is only so far you can go criticizing the work of others. When bloggers start producing a substantial body of original work — then we have a conversation about new media vs old media.
    Until that day, when something blows up in the middle east — I will turn to the MSN because they have the resources to tell me what happened.
    Just blog. Don’t talk about blogging. Blog.

  • Dennis:
    In a word:
    I’ll blog about what I want to blog about. That, after all, is what a blog is all about.

  • You know my grand father always said, “Better to meta-blog than to kitten-blog.” …or wait… that wasn’t my grandfather; I think that was just some drunken hallucination.

  • David

    Wow. You need to go get a copy of Wilson Qcuarterly. Give me an address and I will gift you a subsciption

  • Orbit Rain

    …many who search to learn the truth aren’t starting their day with newspapers…but then sometimes I have a keen eye for the obvious…

  • patrick

    I listened to the Murdoch speech. It was fascinating in itself, but the audience reaction was also noteworthy. Usually when such speeches are given to assembled multitudes in a hotel ballroom, the crowd is fidgety. This crowd – presumably hostile to Murdoch – was riveted to his words to the very end of his speech. Most old, established organizations are unable to adjust to new relaities – think AT&T etc. It will be fascinating to see whether the legacy media – including Fox – can become successful digital immigrants.

  • Margaret

    Fresh Air echoes my thoughts:
    “It’s important to understand that it’s not so much the delivery method of paper and ink that’s outmoded. It’s the people in the newsrooms, their arrogance, biases and condescensions, and their closed-loop, Pauline-Kael groupthink. The reactionary Left, more than ever, is the only point of view we receive from big-city newspapers today.”
    If the Leftist Dailies simply use the internet to press their “news,” we will get precious little improvement. They need to engage and use the great bloggers who are conservative to provide the sadly lacking balance in their papers/websites. If they cared about balance which they don’t or they would hire a mix of reporters and editors.
    I don’t think that the publishers care about making money; they own the papers in order to influence public opinion. That’s why they fret about falling circulation.

  • The amazing thing about the Murdoch speech is that Murdoch was very reluctant to engage in significant dotcom expenditures in the late 90s. I don’t remember the specifics right now, but my recollection is that Newscorp sunk some money into a dotcom, saw very little return, and until well after the bubble burst, Murdoch was highly skeptical of investing in “interactivity”. He saw the tens and hundreds of millions being invested by others and said “No.” So the fact that he has now turned preacher is worth noting for the turnaround alone.

  • Margaret: “I don’t think that the publishers care about making money.”
    Note to Margaret: If you want to be regarded as someone who has even the faintest hint of what American newsrooms are like, then you can’t write stuff like that. Journalists may be arrogant, biased and condescending, but they aren’t utterly clueless.
    BTW: I wonder if Will realizes that young nonreaders aren’t just rejecting the newspaper. They’re also rejecting him.

  • I don’t know if you’ve seen that Le Monde seems to be way ahead of most American newspapers in its attitude toward blogging. Perhaps the natural francophilia of the American MSM will motivate it to change following the French example!

  • Col

    No, The MSM going to the internet will not save their necks. Yes, they have to try start telling the truth instead of giving us their liberal lies. Lying on the internet is as much a failure as lying in a newspaper.

  • tallan

    Just this Sunday on the Viewpoint section of our local MSM newspaper the Memphis Commercial Appeal, they announced a change of format to be more of a conversation with its readers. There were many more letters and fewer op-ed pieces.
    It will be interesting to see how this works. I still want to see several op-ed pieces per day along with more letters to the editor.

  • The only reason I get the daily newspaper is because it’s the most convenient way to get the comics, advice columns, and bridge column.
    I do read the whole paper, but by the time I do, I’ve read the op-ed columns online, seen the headlines on my computer, and caught the sports scores on TV or on espn.com.

  • That’s a good idea to go back and look at Murdoch’s actual Web strategy from ’95 forward, and then “map” it against the speech.