Jeff Jarvis utterly destroys the old newspaper order with this should-be speech to the Newspaper Association of America, currently huddled and whining in San Diego.
Tell me who or what comes to mind when you read this:
You had a generation to reinvent the business but you did too little. … Having not taken advantage of the last two decades to reinvent the news business, you’re not going to manage a rescue in two months, before the creditors come calling. That was your worst hail Mary: stoking up on debt and hoping to milk these cows for years to come. Mad cash-cow disease, that’s what too many of you had. Your other desperate moves: suddenly fantasizing that you can fix everything by going behind a wall (to hell with Google and its billions of readers!) and charging us because you think we “should” pay. Since when is a business plan built on “should?” I haven’t seen a sensible P&L justifying this dream from any of you. If you have one, please stand up show us now….. I thought so. Other desperation moves: fantasies of white knights from foundations buying you and letting you stay just the way you are…. government subsidies (do we even have to discuss the danger?)…. switching to not-for-profit, as if that suddenly takes away the need to sustain the business still… misguided, self-righteousness thinking that Google or cable companies owe you money, as if you have a God-given right to the revenue and customers you lost….. No, none of this will save newspapers and in your subconscious, at least, you know it.
Be sure to read the whole thing. It didn’t have to be this way.