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David Simon's quite the entertainer

Submitted by yelvington on July 18, 2009 - 8:59am

I read the CJR screed by David Simon, journalist turned TV entertainment writer, demanding that newspapers act quickly to build a wall around themselves to keep the Internet out. Here's what I got out of it:

Only the New York Times and the Washington Post matter.

No real journalism gets done outside print newspapers.

The regional papers all stink and deserve to die.

The AP must kick out the broadcasters and dump the commercial customers, or die.

If we engineer a mass suicide by the entire newspaper industry, kill the Associated Press, strangle the broadcasters and continue to pretend that the rest of the world doesn't exist, we'll ensure the perpetuation of the 1980s Washington Post-New York Times news empire so they can hire 10 reporters in St. Louis.

Did I get the gist of it?

Comments

You forgot this: The only reason we don't already have paywalls is not because it's a bad business idea, it's because Sulzberger and Weymouth are a bunch of pussies who just need to man (woman?) up and do what's necessary.

There's no such thing as a community daily or weekly. Or if there is, they don't do journalism. Just boring stuff about chicken dinners and 4-H.

Here's a thesis: We can (should) blame the Simons of the world for continuing to write this stuff, but the reason it keeps coming is that there's an audience of publishers out there who want so badly to be convinced.

Simon is deluded if he thinks that the Times and Post can lead the newspaper industry to grace by sheer force of will, by treading a primrose path. The economics of the industry and the actions of its management would play out far differently than Simon predicts.

Jeff's onto something, but the market is probably quite a bit larger. There are still tens of thousands of working journalists who want to be told their work has direct cash market value. It doesn't, of course, but that hunger creates a demand for flights of fancy suggesting otherwise.

I'm not suggesting that content isn't important or valuable, just that the notion of direct cash sale of general news content to the public is a naive and unworkable model.