Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

April 6, 2009

Lame Quote of the Day

by Stephen Gordon

“People reading news for free on the Web, that’s got to change,” sez Rupert Murdoch.  With newspapers folding all over the country, one might think that the journalism industry would actually get the hint.

Just like any other business, when the books don’t balance, you’ve got to cut costs, increase sales, raise your prices, improve the quality of your product, etc.  Uhm! Here’s a novel idea for the mainstream media: improve the quality of your freakin’ product.  Actually cover what people want to read.  Don’t spoon feed us pablum or try tell us what’s newsworthy.

Anyway, it’s unlikely that people will pay for a product/service which they can get elsewhere for free.

I feel about as sorry for Murdoch as I do for AIG, General Motors, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Catfish Genome Project.

Of course, the some in the industry are calling for bailouts.  This new bailout suggestion eliminates some First Amendment rights.

For years, the Internet has been my primary source of news.  Sometimes I’d pick up a paper to read on the plane, but aside from that, I generally obtain my media from free sources.  Since the advent of smart phones, I don’t even buy print newspapers any more.  Pretty much the same for television broadcasting, but their aren’t asking for bailouts — yet.

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  • Jeff Molby

    He’s right, though. With few exceptions, the major news websites have given away content as a loss leader for their brand. It’s only a matter of time before print media becomes a small niche (like talk radio) and it will be impossible for it to subsidize electronic media.

    Somewhere along the line, the electronic media will have to stand on its own feet. That’s ok, though. It’ll still be cheaper than the equivalent newspaper subscription. Probably more user-friendly, too.

  • Stephen Gordon

    As things even out, I expect that e-media will be able to charge more for advertising. I’ve charged pretty decent rates at a few sites I’ve run in the past.

  • Akston

    I see one of electronic media’s greatest advantages over broadcast or print is its conversational aspect. When I read an outrageous story in print or hear a broadcast that utterly misses a point, all I can do is yell at the television or crumple up the paper. Old media is one-way.

    With new electronic media, I can also read unsolicited dissenting opinion. This opinion can be crackpot, but can also be an important counterpoint that wouldn’t have been aired by the original source.

    This is why I’m always looking for two-way conversations on current events. Many times, I read a perspective I hadn’t considered, or see aspects of the issue which are otherwise new to me. That’s one of the reasons I read blogs. When I see or hear a story presented with no option for comment, I often skip past it looking for a discussion.

    I would bet that Murdoch is at least as concerned about a waning monopoly of informational power as he is about the income.

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