What do you think, too much bile and worry?
An open letter to the folks who don't take their local paper because they can get it for free on the Internet, and any bloggers who quietly smile as the newspaper industry bleeds. Be careful whose throat you help slit.
The newspaper industry can blame itself.
We haven't come up with a new model. We haven't tied online content to revenue production. Craigslist is giving classified advertising away for free, companies make software specifically to block internet advertising. We are worried.
Only now are we acknowledging that the days of 25 percent profit margins are gone. And we have been terribly slow to adapt because ridiculous profits make you lazy.
And they have been ridiculous. I don't see much of that money, but we spread it around to the folks who need it most, like stockholders and executives.
But it's your fault, too. And, even if I'm wrong about that, trust me, you'll pay the price. When was the last time you heard about a news corporation vice president getting laid off?
We can't get readers to pay for news online. They don't want to register for newspaper sites. And that's free, simple and important. The local Belk doesn't care about Web hits if they're not coming from somewhere near the store.
An commenter on a political story I wrote for The Telegraph recently said he'd been "liberated" because he canceled his subscription to the print version of the paper. Here's a guy interested enough in our coverage that he doesn't just read it, he sits at a computer and comments on it. But $15.12 a month is too much to ask.
What's he going to do when the news isn't cheap anymore? Because I assure you the owners will find a way to keep the profits coming. Advertising allowed it to show up at your door for less than 50 cents a day. That's a dying bargain.
Covering government comes with a steep learning curve. I've been doing it 10 years and I still make stupid mistakes because I haven't been doing it long enough, and because we've cut staff so I have to work faster. If I do this another five years, I'll start looking over my shoulder. I might make enough money by then to to worth firing.
I won't run down the media staffing cuts in this state, or the industry at large. Surely you see that you're getting less from the products.
If this continues, who's going to go toe-to-toe with the governor every day? Or with your mayor? Who's going to watch both campaigns, not just the one they're working against? Do you trust Bloggerguy9 for all that?
I'm a worrier. And as much as logic tells me this is a market correction, and that quality journalism will always have an audience, I'm afraid we're going to wake up one day and realize our media, a crucial element of democracy, is broken.
If you're reading this, you're a die hard. You follow politics and news. You're probably not the reason that pretty much every routine crime story we run gets more hits than the best stuff I churn out.
But are you a newspaper subscriber? And, if not, how do you see this model sustaining itself?
Seriously. I could use the answers.