Here is a post I did for Smarter Social Media yesterday.
Jordan and I have been arguing a lot lately. But one of more interesting disagreements is about the future of journalism. Rupert Murdoch’s plan has caused a rift. Jordan voiced his thoughts in his great post Can Rupert Murdoch Save Newspapers? Here is my reply:
I applaud Murdoch for being brave enough to address a growing problem – Newspapers don’t make money. It is a forgone conclusion that the end of printed news is near. Today I have subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, NY Times, The New Yorker, BusinessWeek and The Economist (the single greatest publication in journalism today). I read all of these in print. Yet, with in the decade I am confident that I will get all of my news online, either through the computer or a Kindle like device.
With the recent drop in ad dollars being spent both in newspapers and online, the media is being forced to look elsewhere for revenue. Murdoch is logically looking to the people who enjoy the fruits of his journalistic labors – the readership. Yet, my generation is not prepared to fork over cash in exchange for news, because news is available for free somewhere be it another newspaper or on the blogosphere or even (as I’ve written in the past) on trending topics of Twitter.
But here’s the catch, not all journalism is created equal. The report I read in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times or the Economist is better researched, more timely and written in a style far superior to most of the blogosphere. The blogosphere mostly recycles the journalism from these established outlets. And, I for one would pay (a small, but reasonable) amount for access to this truly premium content.
With this said, specialization and expertise, or in other words value are essential. I would pay for The Economist because of their free market, well educated take on every political issue imaginable. But this doesn’t just apply to print media, as I would happily pay for TechCrunch for their one of a kind scoop on the world of start ups and social media.
While, I admire Murdoch, I do not think his move will change the current calculus. The game changer will be Kindle-like digital readers. Much like the iTunes store recreated the market for paid music, wireless subscriptions via digital readers will reinvigorate the world of journalism. And while I am keeping myself informed on the go, Jordan will have to sift through the recycled mess when Ethernet access allows.