Archive for the ‘internet’ Tag

The Times, they are a-changin’

More revelations this week about belt-tightening at the New York Timesholding salaries steady (at the same levels since 2006, btw), selling off 750,000 sq. ft. of its headquarters (which it will then rent back for $25 million per year!), and dumping its corporate jet.

I can’t find the link to the story where I read that last item, but a glance through teh Google gives one a pretty good indication about the glee in the blogosphere – left and right – about this change in fortune for the Old Gray Lady. Commenters from both ends of the political spectrum that have bemoaned its perceived shortcomings will no doubt see this as the inevitable result of the increasing irrelevance and/or well-deserved comeuppance for the (pick your favorite epithet here) traditional/drive-by/liberal/mainstream/dead tree/conservative/ media.

But there are consequences to this paradigm shift. Clay Shirky writes:

Print media does much of society’s heavy journalistic lifting, from flooding the zone — covering every angle of a huge story — to the daily grind of attending the City Council meeting, just in case. This coverage creates benefits even for people who aren’t newspaper readers, because the work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to talk radio hosts to bloggers. The newspaper people often note that newspapers benefit society as a whole. This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model. So who covers all that news if some significant fraction of the currently employed newspaper people lose their jobs?

I don’t know. Nobody knows. We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it. The internet turns 40 this fall. Access by the general public is less than half that age. Web use, as a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world, is less than half that age. We just got here. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.

Provocative stuff, and worth the read.