And it seems like not much has changed...
Concerning the Denver Post, I realized long ago that the function of the local newspaper was selling ads, and only looking at approved scandals.
There was plenty of fraud going on in the site choosing, site bidding and construction of the new Denver International Airport ; and the Denver Post never investigated any of it. Some improbably large amount of concrete was paid for during the construction of the airport, and I don't think that it was because of the alien underground base... a simpler and more logical explanation for this has to do with large bags of cash...
EDIT: Note that the best journalism you can find on it, was done by Westword, which used to have escort/gay/gentlemen's club ads in the back and was given away free (they now are making $$$ because all the ad space is bought by marijuana advertisers). http://www.westword.com/news/speak-no-evil-5056426
[T]his is the explanation of the condition that confronts most publications to-day. By throwing the preponderating weight of commercialism into the scales of production, advertising is at the present moment by far the greatest menace to the disinterested practice of a profession upon which the diffusion of intelligence most largely depends. If journalism is no longer a profession, but a commercial enterprise, it is due to the growth of advertising, and nothing else.
Advertising subsidized many functions, and then it became the purpose of those functions.
Ads are the threat.
Short answer: yes, there was, or rather, the advertising which was carried was of a very different form. Much closer to classifieds than display ads, and often for sale of land, businesses, or other valuable but one-off property. The bulk of revenue came from subscriptions.
As Holt notes, sale of bulk-produced goods dates to about the mid-19th century, at least in the US (it's slightly eaarlier in Britain) with the introduction of mass-produced goods in quantities greater than could be sold in any one local market, and the transport systems (canals, later railroads) to disstribute them. Amongst the first adverts were patent medicines, the viagra spam of the day.
Consider too that literacy was limited, about 25% in England as of 1800, an as low as 5-10% in rural areas or less-developed countries. The primary driver of improved literacy was itself industrialisation and factory work. Some proficiency with basic reading, writing, and arithmetic, if not deep logical or philosophical thought, was required. (A conflict which has dominated public education debate, policy, and battles ever since.)
Press speeds, paper costs, and issue sizes also evolved tremendously through the 19th century. A wooden "wine press" could produce perhaps 120 impressions per hour with a skilled press team, priinting one side at a time, and requiring a day between sides. The result was a four-page folded broadsheet. By 1900, electric-powered, steel-framed, rotary web, offset prosses cranked one million impressions per hour and could produce, if memory serves, a 12-page publication (three sheets, double-sided, folded), linotype-set, but without photographic halftones (that process arrived in the aughts or 1910s).
Pulp paper (and the lumber necessary for it) arrived in the 1830s. Petroleum-based inks would have followed petroleum, found in bulk in 1859 (Drake's well, Titusville, Pennsylvania).
Prior to all of this, newspapers were small in size, usually weekly, limited-circulation, catering mostly to business owners, and expensive. Another form emerged in the late 18th and through the 19th and early 20th centuries of party papers, specifically dedicated to a particular political party, still indicated in names such as the Arizona Republic, originally Republican.
This formula started changing with Benjamin Day's New York Sun, a cheap (1 cent vs. 5), popular, advertising-driven, and sensationalist publication founded in 1833.
There's a large literature on these subjects, addressing many elements, from technical to social, economic, political, cultural, and more. I've mentioned Robert W. McChesney among the media theory witers. Tim Wu, The Attention Merchants, addresses some of this.
I've compiled a "light" bibliography:
I want just local news. In depth pieces on sports that go beyond the score. Our excellent minor league baseball team, the Lugnuts, isn't covered by our paper at all!
Add in investigative journalists covering politics and local university. Heck the biggest story at the university in fifty years was broken by the Indianapolis paper hundreds of miles away.
I think if the paper did all those things and updated the mobile app more than once every three days they could triple the number of subscribers.
Would you pay the same amount for a newspaper that only had the current quantity of local and investigative news? Or would you pay a lot more for one that had the desired amounts?
It's like lamenting that your burger has a thin beef patty, a mountain of fries and a large soda that's half ice: you paid $5 for the meal, plus the overhead, they can't put $4 worth of beef in it so it's mostly filler.
Also, Lugnuts drool. Whitecaps rule!
More importantly could you double or triple the number of subscribers? I don't have an easy way of knowing for sure unless someone tries it. They could have fewer ads but charge more for them if they can get more subscribers in the 18-36 range.
I admit with the economics of actually printing the paper it might make more financial sense to go entirely digital. Sadly I haven't seen anyone do that successfully.
"Just Local News" appears to be increasingly niche.
While the article is true, it doesn't show the whole picture. Alden capital recognized an opportunity: Hundreds of newspapers with brand recognition and skilled employees. While the newspaper will die, these two things can be used to make money / slow the death a bit.
The solution is "adtaxi". All the MNG newspapers act as local sales people, account managers, etc and use their local newspapers brand recognition to generate sales. Adtaxi is the digital fulfillment agency - so newspapers can sell social, search, and programmatic advertising.
This is a growing chunk of each newspapers revenue, but something I haven't seen mentioned. If Alden capital really wanted to make money, they'd recognize the viability of this model to scale, and that would in turn save newspapers. The problem is newspapers are stuck with tons of old employees, old money, and old ways of doing things. They don'y want digital to save them, they'd rather die doing what they know.
Regarding local news, I run a local newspaper in a town of about 11 thousand people and I strongly disagree that local news aren’t interesting. Having a good local newspaper is an important catalyst for higher quality local government, for example.
They're surprisingly cheap too - it works out something like 2160 CZK/year (US$100) for Ceska televize/rozhlas, and 150 GBP/year (US$200) for the UK TV license.
(Though it'd be nice if something similar funded other TV networks and media organisations too, since everyone's struggling in today's economic climate and a good media setup can't just be one organisation).
Is there anything that you or anyone else on HN can recommend?
But given that, the best strategy is to step outside news targeted at you. Read foreign coverage of your own country. In the UK, I'd suggest the Irish Times as a starting point. The FT is also good as it's targeted at a specialist audience and not the general public.
Not that I recommend it, but if you're looking for a relatively neutral way of 'staying informed' about current events, follow a news wire service like Reuters or the AP. Just don't think that either of them is giving you a complete account of anything.
The app is free — and provides free access to the WSJ, thanks to a generous partnership they offered us.
It's classical Liberal. Derided by the left for being pro market. Nicknamed 'The Ecommunist' by bond traders.
The articles are short. Read through it every week and you will get a better understanding of the world for your time than pretty much anything else will give you.
Top-tier US print sources, national news organs, some cross-aisle sampling, and various monitoring of chatter, international media.
NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Streeet Journal, Christian Science Monitor. Good, though all have a net strong institutional bias.
NPR, PBS, CBC, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, ICIJ.
Bloomberg strikes me as quite good, see also news wires: Rueters, AP, AFP.
Sample headlines out of London, France, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, etc.
Recognise that some organs are highly propagandistic.
FT, The Guardian, The Economist, Mother Jones, Democracy Today, ProPublica.
Monitor network news headlines: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox.
Right-wing talk: Hannity, Carlson, Jones, Limbaugh (all nutjobs, but with large audiences and strong influence.)
Metasources include reports on influence or corruption. Sourcewatch and On the Media, groups such as FAIR or Project Censorship are on my list.
I've cut way back on my own news exposure as 1) it's crazy-making and 2) tremendously non-strategic. I periodically monitor the above, though mostly I dive deep into themes of interest, guided by the overarching question "what are the Big Problems?". I've been kicking around the idea of what a true news dashboard or other interface might look like.
Yes, I do. I live in a country that has one.
> It is simple, and it works,
For some value of "works", and only if you're being generous. We don't have an
independent publicly financed media, they are PR outlet for a political
faction just fine.
You would do much better job by first learning what the world outside your
country has to say about those simple ideas of yours.
1. This sounds a bit condescending
2. E.g.: Switzerland just voted to keep theirs. Seems to be seen as desriable
3. OPs problem wasn't that they are an outlet for a political faction, but that they struggle to finance themselves and are almost forced to pander to an audience to attract advertisement
4. Living in a country where the state financed media is heavily status quo biased (germany) but also produces and finances some of the most scathing criticisms of the same (Boehmerman), I feel we need to be wary of false equivalences. State financed media isn't a perfect panacea to political pandering, but it's definitely better than the cesspool that comes from having only private media sources (or depending on the 'good will' of billionaires)
The UK funds the BBC in a similar way. I used to think it led to better results, but frankly I don't see much difference in quality of output between BBC, ITN and Sky News - they all suck in exactly the same ways. It's not surprising given that journalists all a pretty homogenous lot. If the BBC license fee came up for vote I'd be tempted to scrap it.
BBC News Online in particular feels like it's degraded significantly over time. It used to be hard news, all the time. Now half the stories are lightweight human interest stories, and it's absolutely flooded with feminist / identity politics virtue signalling crap. I feel like the last 10 times I went there, probably 8 of them had multiple "why women are wonderful" / "about an inspiring woman" stories on the front page. Maybe they're being driven by click volumes or something, I don't know, but if they are they may as well just be a fully commercial entity.
They argued that the BBC was using its guaranteed income from the licence fee (originally for just TV and Radio) to crowd out the competition in the UK, by being too good...
Last year the BBC had a story about how their own news website has changed over time . It concentrates on the format rather than the content but the screenshots do seem to show a higher density of 'hard' news info per page.
My gut reaction is to agree with your comment about lack of hard news. However, I decided to check for myself, looking at the first screenful of today's front page [1 - unfortunately not a permanent link]. It has 13 distinct topics (on my large monitor), and the main topic (N Korea and Trump) has two pictures, one short sentence, and three sub-story bullets. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the headlines are in fact informative statements (e.g. "1,600 skilled workers denied UK visas") although one ("Celebrating mixed-race identity") needs you to click through and isn't news as such. Whether these stories do in fact represent today's real issues, or have been picked to conform to the BBC's own agenda (whatever that may be), though, remains an open question
(Hmmm. I'm accessing the BBC website from the UK (the clue is in the '.co.uk'). What does the rest-of-world facing site (bbb.com) look like? I used Google Translate to check the non-uk version  and this seems also to have 'hard' headline statements although there is a different mix of stories.)
Here are some of the stories I see on BBC News currently:
- N Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit
- Italy's populists plan to defy EU rules
- Body clock linked to mood disorders
- Controversial Russia-Crimea bridge opens
- Row over World Cup flirting manual
- New Girl bids bittersweet farewell
- Bank chief sorry for menopausal gaffe
- Anne Frank's dirty jokes uncovered
- Meghan's dad may miss wedding over surgery
- Celebrating mixed race identity
- Why is Spanish ham so expensive?
- Ghana shoe seller takes on ex-dictator
I'd say that the vast majority of these are lightweight human interest stories, several of them are just ID politics masquerading as news and some are both. Why is stuff about TV show New Girl on the BBC News front page?
The story about the "menopausal" gaffe turns out to be that a Bank of England governor described some economies as "menopausal, past their peak, and no longer so potent". This apparently is a gaffe worthy of being in the business news section. It's not clear to me why it's even a gaffe to begin with. Do feminists now argue the menopause isn't a biological event at all? Apparently they do, according to some random economics professor at some random university (the BBC loves quoting academics) - "It conveys a rather derogatory view of women. I've never thought of the menopause as not productive".
It's really pretty trashy. Very different to how it once was.
with respect, do you consider yourself "the world outside [their] country"?
it's certainly worth hearing various opinions, but i'm skeptical as to how much you "speak for the world outside".
For example, mng has 50+ newspapers. Why not identify 10 different ideas and test them out on a few newspapers. Some bad ideas that get my point across:
- Have a reddit-style front page with upvotes/downvotes
- Put all articles on a map so users can see whats relevant near them
- Ask users to sign in to facebook and google on the website so that each ad is more targeted and provides more revenue
This frustrates the hell out of me. The public greatly needs the journalism, not the paper and ink. Despite decades of warning and preparation, many just can't seem to embrace the new medium and find profitable models. You can see it in their generally awful websites: Nobody designing a website from scratch, including for news, would make those choices; you could show me dozens of unidentified news websites and I expect I could easily pick out the newspapers. Also, they can't seem to embrace any medium of communication but text, as if it were 1995 and other media on computer were just being developed. They are still trying to stick to paper-and-ink layout and mediums, just displayed on a website.
The New York Times is scary to watch. I know people laud its digital efforts, but I suspect that's based only on reputation because I haven't seen anything laudable. They also can't seem to fully integrate other media; the other media is displayed beside the text, not integrated fluently into it as most bloggers or social media users could do - imagine communicating with images! Looped animations! Short video clips! Their social media manager, at least as of several months ago, was someone who didn't use social media himself. A little while ago, a NYT IT staffer's wriieup of their newly developed "text editor" was posted here - they used the term repeatedly, but it wasn't a text editor; it was a content management or enterprise publishing system; they didn't seem to know that basic terminology - at the NY Times! (It's not that I care about terminology, it's that it's a red flag - if someone referred to a CMS as a "text editor" in an interview, I'd be concerned.)
Underlying it all is the mistake in assuming that truth matters, in an advertising revenue based system.
If you pay for specialist news sources, even today, you will immediately see a massive difference in detail and quality of information.
For at least 70+ years, if not centuries, the News world has tried to stop the effect of advertising on media.
Media targets human brains, and human brains care for rewards more than “truth”.
If a newspaper sells salacious gossip for cheap, they obtain a huge readership. This in turn provides them with advertising power and thus revenue. This also translates into political power. Take a look at Murdoch’s empire other than Fox news.
All of this generally came under the name “the faster news cycle”. Once we as a species switched to 24/7 news, human attention spans came under increased pressure.
This forced news channels to move towards even more sensational (engaging!) news in order to keep their place.
And then came the internet. The internet destroys the paid classifieds section, the only thing allowing many smaller news papers to stay afloat.
The internet and coders also create tools to perfectly answer other questions “which format ensures maximum engagement, and time on site”. Which font, which design. Which words?
An unwholesome amount of human experimentation is done, from game design to UX/UI design to best create addictive sites.
This further saturates the average human attention span, and at this point overwhelms it.
In todays day and age, News websites are…. Not about traditional news. Everything is about “hacking” the human brain to make it do something.
This is all “content”, which has to be “engaging” or “viral” or “addictive”. We are dealing with the industrialization of thought, and the actual product is just “content”.
So to ask for Innovation, is to ask a dead man to act. You could have them innovate all you like, but the moment they land up on some sub reddit it just gets converted into echo chamber fodder.
Let me explain a bit. By "can sustain", I mean that the whole point of being a journalist is objective reporting, with cultivating trust as a goal. Without trust, a journalist is no better than a blogger with a writing degree. Except I don't think that trust meaningfully exists anymore. Most news in the largest nations is in the hands of a handful of gargantuan monied interests, and with there being no legal obligation to divorce fact from opinion from advertising, they probably will not, so long as not doing so remains as profitable as it has been.
What's the substantial difference between a journalist you can't trust to distill pertinent facts from events, and a random blogger you have no reason to trust in the first place?
One makes more money. Maybe. Are you sure you didn't just read a native ad?
By "needs", I mean that faced with this loss of trust, individual people are going to have to do what they should have been doing in the first place, namely choosing their news sources carefully and paying more attention to subtle and not-so-subtle bias. It's a huge mistake to rely on media credentials as a proxy for likelihood of telling the truth, yet that is the entire concept of journalism as a career path.
That was true for a long time, but the Internet in fact greatly increases the news options:
The Internet lowers barrier to entry compared with the old newspaper (presses and distribution costs) and TV (broadcast facilities, spectrum licenses, etc.). My locality has several publications that wouldn't exist without the Internet. Also on larger scales there is the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, ProPublica, etc. etc. etc. Think of the world of IT news; how many of those would make it as print publications?
The Internet also makes news from other localities far more available. I can easily read news from all over the world; in fact HN links to it.
The Internet and web technologies also lower the cost to free for much news (with all the complications that involves), and allows aggregation and other facilitation.
And of all the news sources I've referred to (local, national, international, etc.), think of how incredibly long the list of owners is and how diverse it is.
As an example, you mentioned BuzzFeed - did you know that Comcast nee NBCUniversal invested roughly $400M into them in the last couple years? Or that they were caught deleting posts critical of their advertisers in 2015?
Did you know that Huffington Post, Engadget, and TechCrunch are all owned by Verizon?
I'm not sure the proliferation of sources amounts to much, as many of those sources are hardly independent at the end of the day. What's your favorite flavor of tech news.. Verizon or Comcast?
I'm not being fatalistic here, I'm saying that most people don't bother to do this work, and so they aren't aware of how few owners actually exist in the journalism market. This is not a healthy state of affairs.
I still think there's more diversity now than before the Internet. There are several more publications in my locale, for example, and some are more focused on local public affairs than the leading local newspapers were (which I assume have to appeal to a wider audience). And there are the other sources I mentioned.
Do you know if it's objectively worse than before the Internet?
But they are also at odds with each other, and can gain advantage by exposing one another. Just like with politicians — a true democratic system is designed with crooks and liars in mind, and balances them one against the other.
Media credentials are a way to aggregate that trust on the long run and invest decades into building a reputation of integrity. With the expectation that it will be profitable in the future, people will come to rely on you because they know how costly any damage to that reputation is to you.
In the model where every internet page is a source that has to vetted individually, the journalists are indeed obsolete but not because they weren't useful; now every citizen must do their own full journalistic investigations before trusting anything written. Most people lack the skills and education to do that work and society is, on the whole, worse off.
People will not be doing what "they should be doing in the first place", we will get the misinformation soup that served us with Trump, Brexit, antivaxx and the score of post-truth social ills.
You really couldn't have picked a worse example.
Brexit is a more complicated topic, but it's worth pointing out that it occurs after a decades long smear campaign by much of the UK media against the EU.
Yes the MMR scare was bad reporting of bad science. But this:
... is just laughable. What you mean is that the UK media, rather unusually for Europe, actually digs up dirt and reports negative stories about the EU. You know, holding government to account, one of the primary functions of journalism.
I've noticed lots of people in the rest of Europe like to describe the UK media this way. I find it rather pathetic. Even the head of the EU Parliament after the Brexit vote explained it by saying the people had been "brainwashed" by the media.
The only reason it feels to them like the UK press runs a smear campaign against the EU, is that supine and useless European newspapers are all ideologically in bed with it and refuse to publish negative stories at all. I read the German press sometimes and any article that at first may appear to be criticising the EU invariably is actually criticising national governments, often with an explicit or implied appeal to the EU to bring the elected governments into line. EU supporters have got used to dog-like loyalty from the press and act shocked when they read genuine, hard hitting criticism in British newspapers.
The rightwing UK press is extremely selective about what negative news it reports about whom. It could and should be savaging the UK government for its lack of Brexit planning but instead it's running articles labelling judges as "TRAITORS".
Just scanning down the list for some recent examples, here's one from 2015:
In a drive to have a go at the EU, on 20 July some UK newspapers (Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail) chose to ridicule circus artists and coconut production
It then goes on to admit that the EU does fund trapeze and sewing courses in Tanzania, but "elaborate metaphors and frivolous choice of visuals aside, mastering – to quote the articles – “the art of the trapeze” can open job opportunities for a person in Tanzania (by the way, the same project also provides courses in carpentry and sewing)."
So this "myth" is in reality not a myth at all, the reports were true. The Commission also managed to totally miss the point of the stories, namely, why is the EU spending money on trapeze courses in Tanzania during a time when its member governments are cutting back on healthcare and welfare to their own people? Instead it posts a pretentious blog post in which it redefines facts as "myths" and shits on journalists doing one of the things journalists are meant to do: asking hard questions about government spending.
Here's another true "myth"
"It appears the press are just as keen on recycling as the Commission. The claim that British taxpayers are subsidising bullfighting in Spain was published in The Daily Mail and Daily Mirror recently, some 18 months after a strangely similar story appeared in The Daily Telegraph in May 2013."
But indeed, the claim the papers made is once again completely true and the EU doesn't deny it. Instead it simply claims that under the EU's own agriculture subsidy rules they don't specify what the subsidies are used for, and so if Spanish farmers choose to use the subsidies to rear bulls for bullfighting that's got nothing to do with them. Except that, you know, they pay for it.
If the EU wants to tackle bad reporting about its own operations in the press, then it needs to stick to cases where the press were actually wrong. It surely does happen. Instead it published a blog that boils down to a big pile of tetchyness, evasion, and slippery use of language - all paid for by the taxpayer. You get the overwhelming impression the EU really doesn't get that an aggressive press is a part of democracy; they see it as an opponent to be defeated.
It's a great way to weed out the economically disadvantaged who can't afford to do educate themselves.
This is why Trump won.
A good example might be the Snowden documents. They were quite numerous and multiple news agencies put a lot of manpower into actually looking through them.
"We live in an age where blogging careers required tricking Google algorithms to thinking your site was valuable in order to increase traffic and thus serve ads to consumers (or grab their email for later product blasts, for example signing up for a free ebook on passive income). This trend spiraled into "spinning articles" which essentially was a method of using software to change articles via word/sentence substitution. The spun articles would then be posted to similar websites that then linked back to one of your main sites. All of them nicely littered with ads of course and leading you in a research circle. This of course evolved into clickbait headlines. Buzzfeed and its ilk are born to maximize this growing pile of garbage echoing, and labels itself as a brilliant strategy which is then echoed out again. Release a few high quality long form articles every once in a while, call yourself journalism instead of blogging (difference being the above strategies and highly opinionated pieces), badda-bing-badda-boom, media is changed. Now instead of reporting on a subject, we regurgitate something else for a few sentences and post the source and call it a day. No understanding, investigation, expansion, or reworking required because the author is no longer writing for an audience but instead for an advertiser click minimum." 
I think the fact that newspapers, blogs, whatever else aren't writing for an audience any more is huge. The idea being that the writer is most likely trying to fill some quota in order to make a buck. I'm not saying that writers are only loyal to their bottom line but they're incentivized to produce much more garbage.
That's a strategy that will get you more regurgitated press releases.
I still subscribe to a newspaper, but at this point I think of it like a donation to a nonprofit. Journalism is important, and I think the people who value it need to concentrate their resources to maintain and support the organizations who will still do it.
However, now I'm going to have to make sure my money's not going to a private equity vulture like this guy.
Facebook and Google control close to 85% of the digital ad market. The rest 15% goes to the content creators and to the journalism. If Google and FB were not able to invade everyone's privacy, that would have created a level playing field for national, regional, and specialized media to prosper. But because they know who you are, they can display an ad for you on any platform. If you are from Denver, here's an ad for a Denver event on your mobile game. So who needs journalism if an article in Denver Post is on par to a Candy Crush screen? Who needs quality content on the internet?
There is a reason why there is no VC investment in the content whatsoever!
Neither Google nor FB should be gathering personal information worse than NSA. Personal information is personal, and free people in a free society should not be followed by multinational corporations.
There are indeed ethical concerns with this level of tracking. That doesn't change that there's a flipside though. A lot of good journalism will have no monetization model to rely on. Paid content only works for the top publications that aim at a wealthier audience.
I think he's got a point but isn't articulating it very well.
Suppose we didn't have any individualized user data but we still knew that people who read articles on medicine are more likely to be doctors and people who read articles on court decisions are more likely to be lawyers etc.
Then specialty publications would have an advantage. If an advertiser wants to reach doctors they have to go to a publication that mostly doctors read or else most of their ad spend is wasted. That allows the specialty publication to charge higher rates, because they have fewer competitors for that viewership market.
Once you have individualized user data, the advertiser can go to a populist media outlet and buy just the subset of users they want. They don't have to go to a specialist media outlet anymore so the specialist media outlets lose advertisers to the populist ones.
Meanwhile it's not actually that expensive to generate horoscopes and celebrity gossip, so there is vigorous competition driving down margins there and the increased ad revenue goes primarily to the tracking companies rather than the content producers.
It's more profitable for a content producer to get 100% of the advertiser's money than to get 15% of it even though the advertiser is spending twice as much in total, with the rest going to tracking companies and fake news outlets.
If there wasn't an invasion of privacy, there would be no open marketplace for buying ads, and small websites would have an incredibly difficult time filling ad slots.
I read an article recently that made a good point: personalized ads aren't advertising; it's really direct marketing, just like junk mail, spam, and telemarketing.
"Personalized advertisers" are also very mercenary, and no quality publication can rely on revenue from them. They'll use your content to profile your audience, then abandon you and target them on cheaper websites your users also frequent.
Edit: here's the article: http://blogs.harvard.edu/doc/2018/05/12/gdpr/
 - http://csweb.brookings.edu/content/research/essays/2014/bad-...
The advertising as spying model is dying, too. The EU GDPR killed it in the second largest market on the planet. It is a matter of political opportunity for the same to happen in the US.
What we are seeing is the limit of advertising as a business model in general.
I think they could try adding local news into their feed.
I’ve learned having an externally pointing sec cam is valuable in capturing suspicious chars.
There's a surplus of journalists that are either unemployed or peddling their services writing freelance articles where they are payed by the word. That's not sustainable in its current form but it might be the beginnings of something new: offering these people a way to get revenue.
This business is essentially reputation driven; good journalists get payed more and have an easier time getting their work published. Right now they do this at fixed price by selling themselves to media syndicates that are taking most of the profits for themselves. There seems to be no way other than monetizing through largely ad driven media silos. This is a race to the bottom. You get shit articles that offer confirmation bias to pre-selected demographics based on what ads they can publish.
I'd gladly pay up for a netflix/spotify style news subscription model with a fair distribution model. This would enable niche publications and journalists to do their thing in the same way that niche artists and series are thriving on spotify and netflix. But it would have to be an inclusive platform; I'm not paying for a handful of big brand publications with some filler content that I can get elsewhere for free. I want basically a good subset of all relevant publications in the same way that most artists are on Spotify. I don't want to have to micromanage subscriptions either. Just measure what I read, and how long I read it, etc. and make sure the relevant copyright owners get their cut. I want good journalists to get a fair cut of the earnings.
That's money the journalists are missing out on. I've not bought a news paper in years, I have no online news subscriptions and never payed for paper subscriptions. I also have an ad-blocker and routinely bypass naively implemented paywalls with private browsers. That's billions of completely untapped revenue potentially and none of it ad based. Enough to pay for the work of tens of thousands of journalists. At 5$/month, 20 million subscribers is about 1 billion in revenue, which at a generous 100K per year could pay for 10K journalists. I'd say a good enough platform can easily do better than that in just the US alone.
Journalism is like science, an entire career might have a few interesting publications if you’re lucky, something really big is like winning the lottery. Current society isn’t designed to appreciate that kind of hit ratio. There is all sorts of low grade grift and corruption in business and politics but there aren’t enough big scandals to keep the kardashians out of our papers.
So changing that changes the incentives. If people still mostly want the stuff they are being fed right now AND are happy paying for that, well ... who are we to complain.
Considering that I'd never heard anything about the Denver Post prior to all this discussion about it being harvested by "vulture capitalists", they don't seem to be doing anything exceptional. If it really takes 184 journalists to produce a daily newspaper of middling quality, is print journalism worth saving?
Of the two prizes for news reporting both were for mass shootings that happened to take place locally. I am skeptical these prizes were awarded based on some objective evaluation of their reporting skill; the Pulitzer is probably just awarded on the basis of emotions. Like so much else in journalism, there are no systems worth a damn.
Ugh. I dont know about it therefore it is bad?
I grew up delivering newspapers door to door first thing in the morning with yet more newspaper delivering in the afternoon, after school, this one being the local paper. I got to be very good at reading all of them and I was a believer in the product. My papers of choice were the Financial Times and The Guardian. I started out reading the smaller articles at the foot of the page and progressed to reading the big articles at the top of the page.
Sometimes a 'child mind' is quite helpful for being objective and seeing things as they are. I was truly shocked at how low the reading age was for the tabloid papers - up to and including the Daily Mail. I also found The Times to be 'faking it', i.e. using big words for the sake of it rather than to convey meaning. I found The Telegraph to be legit but with Tory viewpoint which was fine, you didn't have to read the editorial, if you wanted crime stories they were all there on page 3, the international news was there and the sport, e.g. cricket was pretty good too.
There were some howevers, for instance I was quite a fan of F1 at the time so after a race I was reading the reports in all of the papers, I can even remember the writer names. I didn't want to know about just the winners on the podium, the fortunes of the back of the grid guys interested me too, yet the only way I could get a bit of an idea of how they fared was to read all the papers. I still found this lacking.
Nowadays if I need to know that level of information I can get so much more and for free, reading blogs and whatnot as well as the BBC overview. There is no way I would consider reading what the newspapers have to say about F1 even if I had access to every newspaper for free, even if online rather than in dead tree format.
There was another 'however' - as a child delivering papers I did not think outside of the frame set by the newspapers, so if there was a story on how the British bid to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia hadn't happened then I would 'believe' that this was bad for jobs and the balance of payments - as if that mattered. I was not able to think that 'we' (as in the Royal 'we') should not be selling tanks to the Saudis. The Guardian (never mind the Daily Mail) didn't let my mind stray as far as questioning whether selling these tanks was ethical or outside of the founding charter of the United Nations. I was not given the words to think that.
Back then the wars that happened seemed pretty legit. Even the Falklands seemed 'fair'. The war in Afghanistan and the Olympic boycotts that followed all seemed okay.
If we had the internet then then I might have been able to find out that the Afghanistan war was instigated by America, funding the terrorists and bringing down a democratically elected government. Much like the F1 situation, the information was just not obtainable, even if you went out to seek it.
My grandmother did say that you should not believe what they write in the papers, but the other out there stuff was not there so the default was to believe what the papers said.
Nowadays, post Iraq, post the Syria fake chemical attacks and with so many other obvious lies told how is anyone expected to believe the truthiness of the papers? So as well as the many reasons for newspaper decline given in the Wikipedia article is a fundamental problem that means no mainstream newspapers have a core readership of 'fans' - truth. It is just absent from the mainstream news. We as a society are no longer on the same page when it comes to facts.
Online blogs do have the '1000 core fans' needed to give them life, the mainstream news does not have that. In the UK the printed newspapers are only read by two groups of people - commuters in tube trains with no WiFi and the old baby boomer generation.
I learned how the 'old baby boomer generation' read their papers back in the day of delivering them. They read these things much like how one might eat lots of 'fiber' in one's diet, because it is allegedly good for you. There would be sugar coating in the Sunday magazine supplements, so people would actually be 'licking off the sugar coating' and reading the lifestyle or sport articles rather than the 'news'. So they weren't really reading papers for reasons beyond entertainment. This goes on today, it is the same ritual, something to fill your lazy Sunday afternoon doing. So nobody is reading these papers and even if they are then their thoughts and opinion on current affairs matter not. They have been sheeple-ified into believing the five minutes of hate with no ability to think outside the frame.
A lot of 'young people' who don't touch newspapers with a bargepole are not illiterate oafs, chances are they have cut the cord with TV and really do not want to be told what to think anymore. Sadly they get drawn in to fake news and conspiracy stories thanks to Facebook and what the likes of Cambridge Analytica do. So we still have not escaped 'the frame'. We have escaped it enough though for dead-tree newspapers to be as good as dead.
Attention anyone sill subscribed to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the San Jose Mercury News and the Orange County Register: it's time to quit.
If those papers have any local competitors left, they should get the money instead.
I can't help but feel a tiny analogy to Apple with this statement.
Larry Ellison of Oracle referred to CA as "where software goes to die" because of this business practice. When Oracle says that, you know it's bad.
Every time I'm at some company where an entrenched piece of software that has a declining user base (Erwin data modeling software, Rally for Agile, etc) I discover that CA has bought it, put it on life support, and let it just slowly rot.
I guess someone at Arby's didn't get the "start over" memo...