The Chronicle’s announcement earlier this month that 100 newsroom jobs will be slashed in the coming weeks in the face of mounting financial woes represents just the latest chapter in a tragic story of traditional journalism’s decline.
Reportedly losing an estimated $1 million a week, the paper’s owner, the Hearst Corp., concluded it had no recourse but to trim costs by laying off reporters, editors and other skilled professionals, or offering buyouts to the most seasoned journalists in order to induce them to leave. The cuts reportedly will amount to a quarter of The Chronicle’s editorial staff…
This quote from a commenter on his site.
The rise of the Internet has produced sharp declines in traditional advertising revenues in the printed press. Free online advertising competitors such as Craigslist.com have sharply undermined classified advertising as a traditional source of revenue. While many newspapers have attempted mightily to forge a presence on the Web — including The Chronicle, whose terrific sfgate.com is among the top 10 most trafficked news sites in America — revenue from online advertising is paltry compared to that from traditional print sources. As a result, newspapers such as The Chronicle must make staff cuts to survive — and increasingly it is highly skilled professional journalists committed to seeking the truth and reporting it, independently and without fear or favor, who must go.
The commenter goes on to write:
I see a world where corporations such as Google and Yahoo continue to enrich themselves with little returning to journalistic enterprises, all this ultimately at the expense of legions of professional reporters across America, now out of work because their employers in “old” media could not afford to pay them…..
….the time has come for corporations such as Google to accept more responsibility for the future of American journalism, in recognition of the threat “computer science” poses to journalism’s place in a democratic society.
It is no longer acceptable for Google corporate executives to say that they don’t practice journalism, they only work to provide links to “content providers.” Journalism is not just a matter of jobs, and dollars and cents lost. It is a public trust vital to a free society. It stands to reason that Google and corporations like it, who indirectly benefit so enormously from the expensive labor of journalists, should begin to take on greater civic responsibility for journalism’s plight. Is it possible for Google to somehow engage and support the traditional news industry and important local newspapers more fully, for example, to become a vital part of possible solutions to this crisis instead of a part of the problem?
Interesting to say the least. Scott Karp is right though, “Google Didnâ€™t Destroy The Newspaper Business, The Web Did“.
But letâ€™s be clear â€” the New York Times canâ€™t monetize that search-driven readership with the same monopoly pricing that it enjoyed in print. But thatâ€™s not Googleâ€™s fault. Thatâ€™s the free market.
The newspaper business is based on monopoly control over the distribution of news and information in a given region. The Web destroyed those regional monopolies by making it cheap and easy to distribute any information anywhere in the world instantaneously. The car killed the horse and buggy industry. Digital cameras killed the film industry. Technology happens â€” but technology itself isnâ€™t destroying journalism. Itâ€™s simply destroying the business that subsidized journalism.
Mathew Ingram has more.