Nobody can be a newspaper

Dirk Liedtke tweeted about a Newspaper Association of America ad defending newspapers (of course), which I didn’t see because I’m reading the New York Times on Kindle and iPhone and Mac these days (so much for the success of print). He linked to the text here and it includes all the expected protestations about how newspapers are just fine – really, they are, really – and how there are wondrous innovations in print advertising (shape and polybag ads, post-it notes, “we prints,” shingle spadeas, scented ads, taste-it ads, glow-in-the-dark, belly bands and temporary tattoos!) Fine. It’s no surprise that a trade association would defend its trade, though I still wish they’d update and defend the value of news over the value of print.

But this line in the NAA’s ad stood out:

No amount of effort from local bloggers, non-profit news entities or TV news sources could match the depth and breadth of newspaper-produced content.

“No amount of effort.” No, it’s impossible: no one could do what a newspaper does except a newspaper. Don’t even try, people. It’s hopeless. Really, give up, now. Leave it to us. We know best. How many times do I have to tell you to stop!

There, right there is the core problem with the newspaper industry. Its leaders should be seeing the potential in collaborating with those bloggers, nonprofit news entities and TV news to create and curate news in new and expansive and more efficient (and profitable) ways. Instead, they want to do it all – and own and control it all – themselves. They don’t see and thus can’t exploit the new economics of the Google age. Instead, they defend their ways.

No amount of protest against change will stop it.