I'm generally a big fan of the Poynter Institute and I often quote Roy Peter Clark, but not in the case of "Your Duty to Read the Paper," in which the great writing coach transforms himself right before our eyes into an Internet troll.
He says journalists should read more newspapers because they have a duty to do so.
I say they should read less.
Toss print aside.
Get out of the office.
Start talking to real people.
Discover that we entered the 21st century more than seven years ago.
The Cleaver family doesn't live here any more.
Quit blaming the Internet. There's nothing wrong with paper. It's your journalism that isn't relevant.
Clark doesn't believe there's an online business model. He's wrong.
I've previously described how newspapers don't have an online revenue problem, but rather an online audience problem. Just to put a point on it: I spent today with yet another newspaper new-media director whose biggest problem is sold-out ad inventory. The site needs people and pageviews.
You get people and pageviews by providing meaningful content and services.
We're not going to get meaningful content and services from journalists who spend their time reading each other and sniffing around each other's scents like a pack of dogs.
Don't compare your journalism with that of another newspaper. Compare it with the needs of the community.