Journalism: craft or commodity?
Wednesday, September 18th, 2002
Ken Layne writes: “The cost-cutting, personality-hating newspaper chains have done everything possible to do away with popular columnists. The most successful tactic has been to let the popular columnists die off and quickly kill all discussion of replacements by issuing the standard ‘he/she could never be replaced.'”
To the folks who think great writers won’t ever make a living from blogging, I can only say: what are you gonna read if they don’t?
Professional journalism is being crushed by lead-coated, 19th-century overheads. Although a few true-believers fight back, each year, another 5% of the newspaper heap gets amalgamated or liquidated. Eighty percent of newspaper revenue funds executive parking garages, ad rep bonuses, printing presses, phone bills, delivery trucks, and 3-martini-lunches.
The fires of competition will boil off these impurities and slag. Wordsmiths and other idea entrepreneurs will thrive; the advertiser will get five times more bang for her buck; readers will get more and better commercial information.