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From the Desk of the Despair Editor

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A stark warning about the future of newspapers and the importance of blogs was delivered today by Rupert Murdoch at the National Press Club in Washington, Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine reports. He includes the speech text with his own comments. Another very good Jarvis post concerns news aggregation. He writes:

“Why depend on the 300 (expensive, snarky, recalcitrant) reporters you pay for when you could have 3,000 aggregated reporters to get more news less expensively than ever before.”

On the subject of news aggregators, Rick Edmonds, in a review published on Poynteronline.com of two books about the news business, asks these questions:

“Is the blogosphere the leading edge of a mass exodus to reading news online and in non-traditional formats? Are news-aggregators poised to strip-mine expensive-to-produce content out of economically challenged papers?”

Newspaper were cutting staff well before blogs. And blogs that exist by cut and pasting content from other sources aren’t the future. Blogs will compete to survive and they’ll have to generate original content to do so.

Blogs aren’t a threat. They’re the first true sign that news organizations – on a wide scale – can exist without newsprint.

Newspapers need to dump their printed product and invest the savings in newsgathering. We need to get past the bathroom reading habit argument. New trend in publishing: Hiring instead of firing reporters?

It may be cheaper for a newspaper to deliver free computers to subscribers then hard copies to subscribers.

Other items of note from the despair editor:

The Boston Herald is cutting 35 positions, Editor & Publisher reports. E&P also has an AP story about how the top editor of The Free Press in Mankato, Minn., resigned rather than cut newsroom jobs. The Free Press has 30 staff members; management apparently believes industry standards call for one employee for every 1,000 subscribers. Its daily circulation is 22,500, AP reports. We predict a decline.

The Seattle Times has a goodbye party to 27 newsroom staffers who took voluntary severance. Times editor writes of the “pain.” Hold that thought.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, reporters and editors at the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph vote to strike to “protest at the loss of nearly one in six jobs at the newspapers,” PersonnelToday.com reports.

In grim summary:

The American Society of Newspaper Editors reported this week that: “Since the economic downturn of 2001, newsrooms have lost a net of more than 2,200 journalists ….”

Meanwhile, are the number of PR flacks increasing while jorno jobs die? Any stats?

And that’s the news from your Despair Editor.

— Courage.

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About KOB

  • KOB

    Temple — Thanks for the comment.

  • Thanks. I had to read it at Jarvis’ (first visit in about a month) and now here. He’s 24/7 doomsday on “old media” without breaking it down more like he did today – the “old media” IS the new media as far as he majority of online advertising etc etc.

    He just keeps on repeating “news is a conversation” – and I just keep looking at the conversations on the Web.

    But I like your take – one Jarvis for all his pop culture credentials hasn’t ever quite put forward. And I can see myself there, though I do like the idea that not EVERYTHING centers around my computer. IE – a newspaper in my hands.