Thursday, August 25, 2005


I read this opinion piece a few days ago, but it stayed with me. I'm not sure what to make of it. One could say this fellow was living in a dream world for much of his work career. In this dream world, money did not matter -- only information. On the other hand, the environment in which the fellow started was one of fun -- I recall it well -- and of little responsibility for the bottom line of a news organization other than reporting stories well.

What strikes me about it in the end is that newspapers have been profit-making enterprises since the beginning and someone somewhere was worried about the bottom line. Certainly the circulation wars of the 19th and 20th Centuries were about revenues and profits. The raging headlines of the Hearst and Pulitzer papers were about selling more papers on the street. Tabloid journalism is tied closely to revenue.

I'm not sure that the Founding Fathers had a Great Mission and Moral Imperative in mind for newspapers from the beginning. In any event, newspapers are a medium and not an end. Journalism can survive in any number of ways -- and will. It's the content, and not the printing press. If newspapers go away, online will still be here.


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