Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A few thoughts on posts and deleted posts

Every now and then things slow down here at TNM. Often this occurs in the summer when the news cycle tens to take a siesta. But just as often it is because I have written a lengthy post, thought about it, and then decided to delete – either because I just felt it didn't merit posting, or for very personal reasons.

This morning I read this post from Roy Greenslade of The Guardian. Greenslade is in the middle of reading James O'Shea's The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers, the former Tribune Company editor who in his book recounts the Tribune merger with Times Mirror and the purchase of the company by Sam Zell which eventually led to the company's bankruptcy.
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The reason for the post by Greenslade is the point to Jack Shafer's post on Slate.com, where Shafer takes apart O'Shea's book. Shafer just doesn't get the that the blame for the industry's woes can be placed at the feet of those inside it since, he argues, have't companies like the NYT and WaPo also experience staff reductions?

Well, needless to say that I find Shafer's post laughable. It reads like the naive ramblings of a middling actor telling us that he finds Mel Gibson to be a worthy role model.

But ultimately I decided to trash that post for the simple reason that very few TNM readers appear very interested in the inside ball of the newspaper industry – they have already moved. Those involved in new media really don't care much about why the newspaper industry is failing, simply that it is and that creates new opportunities for those who will follow.

But for me, as a former newspaper executive, the whole thing is like a car crash, ugly to observe, but impossible to turn away from, nonetheless.

But all industries are made up of people, people who make decisions, who are responsible for their actions. But is it really surprising that journalists fail to see this? After all, every Sunday morning we all are subjected to the same news shows where journalists interview the usual suspects, the same people who have proved to be wrong time and time again, yet the journalists never question whether they should stop talking to the discredited, never mention the discretions. In today's world of journalism, people are not responsible, they are ruled by outside forces bigger than themselves. No one is to blame, therefore placing the blame is considered bad form.

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