2 thoughts on “Newspapers: Stages of Google Grief”

  1. It is easy to empathize with the culture shock that ensues a lost of status, security, and prestige.

    But they must understand that it is their decisions to put their content on the Web as opposed to hard copy only.

    Also, they must accept the fact that it is their decision to allow the content to be free and paid for by advertisers as opposed to the WSJ – subscription model.

    Google is providing a summary and a link – while Yahoo partners with content providers to co-brand their news website.

    MSNBC offers another business model.

    The Internet is also affecting Television and Radio News. You can now access the news in real-time 24-7. At any given time, there are several outlets reporting and updating breaking news within minutes of one another. The technology also streamlines outputting the news in a much more cost effective manor -while allow multi media embellishments.

    Society is changing and will continue to change as a result of competitive technologies. Billions of consumers will ultimately decides where the best resources lie and will embrace those options as priorities.

  2. A few days ago, Nicholas Carr made an interesting statement on his blog (roughtype.com):

    I realize I’m letting my sentimental bias show: I still hope that there will be a way to actually sell stuff on the internet rather than having to give everything away for free, crassly plastered with ads. (Why? Because I think that the hegemony of “free” will in the long run end up narrowing our choices rather than expanding them.)

    I realize that much of newspapers’ business is already driven by the ad-supported model, but at least there is still a decent amount of paid subscriptions and newsstand purchases that allow some creative freedom from advertising’s dominance.

    So if Google buys all these newspapers, and switches them to the exclusively ad-driven model? Or if the newspapers themselves are forced into the exclusively ad-driven model, because of pressure from Google-like business models? Like Carr, I fear this economic model will restrict our choices to the types of news most pleasing to the advertisers.

    I know the arguments to the contrary, about how there are a long tail of advertisers and how this long tail will be able to support all the stories that need to be investigated and written. Currently, however, the long tail of interesting and socially important stories is out of sync with the long tail of advertiser desires.. the “heads” and even some of the “fat belly” do not match up.. which is actually a good thing. As long as there is subscription money to allow funding of those important stories, those important stories will continue to be written.

    The moment, however, that non-advertising (subscription) monies go away, the advertiser long tail may start to synchronize with the news story long tail and many of the more socially important stories will not be written because they do not mesh with advertiser needs. Or if they are covered, they will be covered with a frequency or depth apropos to their new position far down the advertising long tail, ie hardly at all.

    No prediction or forecast ever turns out as dire as it is painted, and I’m sure my worries are no exception. No matter what happens with newspapers, I’m sure society will continue to plod along as usual, and no real upheavals will occur, one way or the other. Still, there has been so much excitement over the past few years about advertising as the panacea for everything, and (relatively) little critical analysis. I think we do need to collectively stop every once and awhile and at least ask the question of whether ad-supported everything is expanding our choices, or narrowing them.

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