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Punch Sulzberger Optimistic About the Future of Newspapers (From 1994)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by YankeeFan, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    If Punch gives you a hot stock tip, you might want to go short instead.

  2. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I was only 10 years old at the time, so maybe I'm clouded by hindsight...but was it really that hard to fathom that all the things he championed for newspapers -- serendipity at finding news, the collecting and ordering of news (via search engines...after all he refers to Lexis searches) and cheap cost to consumers -- would all be harnessed by online sources?

    Were these the types of things you needed to be Alvin Toffler to understand? Or as I suspect, were the heads of the newspapers just too blind to see that all it took was a little initiative at the dawn of the commercialization of the internet from the papers?

    I believe if Punch and Judy Newspaper Owner had just put a little money into "the series of tubes", we'd have a much different landscape today. Newspapers would have a pay for content format in place rivaling ITunes and the App system and more importantly people would still understand that news gathering, writing and editing make content worth paying for.

    Maybe I'm just not able to realize how hazy all of this was back in 1994. It seems so clear now. Even as a kid I remember thinking we'd be done with the paper version of the newspaper by the beginning of the 21st Century. In my mind, we're still BEHIND schedule of where I thought we'd be. So in some ways, newspapers are even lucky they aren't completely bankrupt. Didn't anyone else have this conception in '94?
  3. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I am so tired of the iTunes correlation. It is a false conclusion...the epitome of one. Doesn't work. Bzzzzz.
    What makes iTunes, or the "a la carte," pay model work is the re-usability of the information. I love Gary Smith. He writes, I read. But, I can count on one hand the Smith pieces I've read a second time.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Winner winner chicken dinner.

    If iTunes charged $.10 per song but you could only listen to each one once, nobody would ever buy from them.
  5. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Nobody fucked up. It's nobody's fault. Really.

    Sometimes an industry (say, those involved in producing vinyl records) simply cannot provide what the people want in a way that makes it worth their while to pay for it. Newspapers are only example No. 349,301,430 throughout history. Why are we still alive? Because of people like my older brother, who has to have his paper every morning. Thank Tebow for him and others like him.

    For everything you thought would happen, there are dozens of things that did not happen (moving sidewalks everywhere, flying around like the Jetsons, etc.).

    I still have zero desire to do any serious reading on a tiny hand-held device (especially when said device comes with all kinds of service fees). For others it's the only way they read. There's no way to foresee what kind of habits people will form. The genius of Apple is that it has the ability to make you want something you didn't know you wanted, to do things in a way you did not envision doing them. They are geniuses. 99.992% of the rest of us are not.

    In a BEST-case scenario somebody would pay for it, cut and paste it, and then spread it around for free.

    So that instead of 0% of readers paying for it (like we have today), you would have 0.00001%. Think that would save us?

    That's just the way it is now. Some people pay plenty for Rosetta Stone. I don't. Somebody somewhere made it available for download on a torrent.
  6. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    The genius of Apple is painting things white and charging double for them. Triple if you want it in black.
  7. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    In fairness, newspapers tried lots of things as technology changed.
    CatCue anyone? On demand fax news reports, partnerships with CompuServe and others, along with other projects large and small.
    The problem was that nothing stuck and the projects were splintered out among various publishing groups.
    No one had a unified idea that could cross regional differences.
    Still don't, for that matter.
  8. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Too many people can only see through the prism of their own lives.

    If you are 20something or 30something, newspapers were enormous cash cows for almost all your life. Therefore, they "should" be, and if they are not, well, somebody screwed up.

    If you are older than that, you lived through the demise of many papers. Cities used to have 10 papers fighting for the ad dollar. Think they were all well off? Hardly. 90 percent of them disappeared, and you were left with one (or two) enormously profitable newspapers for a couple of decades. Not even two- or three-paper cities were safe in the 1980s. Think LA Herald-Examiner, Dallas Times-Herald, Miami News, Baltimore News-American, Philadelphia Bulletin, Knoxville Journal, among dozens.

    Saying that newspapers were a historical cash cow for generations and simply got left behind in the 21st century is just not historically accurate. They just happened to have ONE (or two) tremendous decades after their local print competition was vanquished . . . which just happened to be the decade in which you grew up with them.
  9. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    There's still a market for newspapers, had they kept evolving and continued to provide excellent journalism. But they are dead, however, because management gave up and followed the advice of nerds who said you had to dumb it down and give it away free online. Since 1994 staffs have been cut to nothing and newspapers don't have a chance anymore. It's not because there's not a market for newspapers.
    The publishers gave up and followed the advice of simple minded fools. It's going to be a good time to be a politician in the future and local government type person in the future 'cause there will be no watchdogs in the future in the world of happy little "newspaper" Internet soundbite stories.

    Nobody ever said newspaper owners were smart. They've been a ruthless bunch throughout history, as it is one of the lowest paying "professions." But they've blown it for themselves by their utter stupidity in agreeing to giving away content for free on the web and not bolstering the traditional print ad staffs.

    People aren't going to purchase the pieces of shit (check how thick a newspaper is nowadays) that we call 2010 newspapers nor should people buy these pieces of shit.
  10. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Watchdogs don't really have a place anymore anyway.

    For anything uncovered, those who do not want to believe it know there are plenty of places they can go where their beliefs will be reenforced.

    Piece is five years old, but it states my case perfectly.

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