John Honderich has a knee-slapper of an article all about why people should be concerned about quality journalism and how sad it is that they have no gotten Daddy Government to bail them out thus far.
He promises it wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything.
If you get a bailout, then yes, it costs the taxpayers everything.
This sound like a little kid who wants a very expensive item for his birthday, and is thinking up every excuse in the book to get his own way.
Once upon a time, newspapers were the only game in town. They got two younger siblings over time: radio and then television.
Newspapers still had the most information than the other two, but none of the flash.
Then came the Internet that could just roll all three into one.
But something else happened: the gate-keepers lost their monopoly.
And it changed everything.
We want to know what the US President is thinking? Go to his Twitter account.
Exclusive interviews have disappeared because we can go to a newsmakers Facebook account.
That was a blow to journalism, but not the death blow.
It was their utter refusal to improve their own product that killed newspapers.
It never became empirical or refined. It never changed its ways, and in a Internet Age, that was a very stupid thing to do.
If newspapers had something useful, people would have continued to support it — in print and online.
But they didn’t.
They cannot give away their product for free.
When I was writing articles about the Canadian newspaper scene for Presstime, I wrote a story about how free newspapers were included in circulation numbers.
So the newspapers they were giving away at restaurants and universities were counted, even if no one was reading them.
It was a cheat.
And this is going back to the early 2000s.
I was also a college professor at the time, and because I was also a journalist, I used to take a stack of National Posts, and bring them to class so students would take a paper to read.
No one ever touched them, and some of those students were media students. I asked why didn’t they pick one up, and they had very good reasons why: newspapers never talked to them.
And they were absolutely right.
I know because when I graduated from j-school, I used to apply to newspapers, pitching to write hard news stories for people under 30.
And those pitches were shunned because, I was told, people at that age don’t read.
So let’s ignore the brats, even though they are flocking to the Internet that is still a primarily text-driven medium, making this generation the most read generation in the history of mankind.
This is the lunacy that killed the newspaper industry. Back then, I was distressed at the lazy and arrogant attitude people in the Canadian newspaper business had about the changes they needed to make to keep up.
I thought my mother misnamed me and should have called me Cassandra. I could see the future very clearly, but being a female in this country, I was automatically dismissed.
Newspapers are still patriarchal in structure. That fact hasn’t changed.
They way they gather news, interview people, and disseminate information hasn’t changed.
Honderich is yesterday’s man. His point of reference is a bygone era where newspapers were the only source of basic information aimed at a middle class audience.
Those days are done.
The government has no business funding newspapers for the simple reason it makes those papers beholden to their patron.
The model is broken. The mindset is broken. The methods are broken.
Public trust is broken.
Canadian newspapers are paupers, begging on the street, asking the government to spare a dime.
If the government has any sense or morals, they will turn down the request, and tell them it’s their own fault they are a dead profession.
Honderich’s obliviousness is pathetic.
Yes, we need information, but not newspapers. Not through journalism.
Those days are over.
We need a fresh start and a new era.
And it needs to start now.
And not with yesterday’s men giving us another self-serving lecture about how the world needs them.