Nov 16, 2007

Happy ending

Over at the NAA blog, Andrew Nachison, a business consultant, pushes back against the incessant tide of naysayers and charlatans who tout new newspapers and asks that they first remind themselves why they're in this profession.

"The purpose of newspapers is not to produce better newspapers, or to sell more of them, with more advertising. It’s not to build better Web sites for more visitors. It’s not to maximize revenue and minimize expense. It’s not to dominate or “own” markets. It’s not to maximize shareholder value."

Heresy! Apparently he hasn't read Kane Cochran's screed yet.

I'm not sure I agree with Nachison's ultimate point that newspapers are simply about making the world better. Tough to get traction on that one, but at least he tries to make a point about why journalists do what they do. I do, however, agree wholeheartedly that newspapers need to reconsider their very purpose before rolling out slapdash innovation after slapdash innovation (Singleton, I'm looking at you):

"The alternative is – what? Launch some blogs? Create a social network? Install a new content management system? Make sure you’ve got nice mobile services? Outsource your printing? Run an advertising sales blitz? Put pictures in your classifieds? Sell photos? Build a new newsroom? Buy some video cameras? Trim your paper size? Put names on your editorials? Allow ordinary people to comment on your cherished articles?

"It’s all meaningless, futile and pointless – unless there’s a point to begin with."

Amen, sister.

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