The most important fight in journalism today isn’t between short vs. long-form publications, or fast vs. thorough newsrooms, or even incumbents vs. start-ups. The most important fight is between realists and nostalgists. Kushner was running a revival meeting for nostalgists: “The internet’s not such a big deal! Digital readers will pay rather than leave! Investing in print is just plain good business!”
That was some old-time religion right there. It was fun while it lasted, for people who miss the good old days. For people who do not miss the good old days, it was not fun.
A year or so ago, I was a guest lecturer in NYU’s Intro to Journalism class, 200 or so sophomores interested in adding journalism as a second major. (We don’t allow students to major in journalism alone, for the obvious reason.) One of the students had been dispatched to interview me in front of the class, and two or three questions in, she asked “So how do we save print?”
I was speechless for a moment, then exploded, telling her that print was in terminal decline and that everyone in the class needed to understand this if they were thinking of journalism as a major or a profession.
The students were shocked — for many of them, it was the first time anyone had talked to them that way. Even a prompt from me to predict the date of Time magazine’s demise elicited a small gasp. This was a room full of people who would rather lick asphalt than subscribe to a paper publication; what on earth would make them think print was anything other than a wasting asset?
And the answer is “Adults lying to them.” Our students were persuaded to discount their own experience in favor of what the grownups who cover the media industry were saying, and those grownups were saying that strategies like Kushner’s might just work.
Это хорошо, да: "This was a room full of people who would rather lick asphalt than subscribe to a paper publication." Времена меняются медленно, но верно (или быстро, но верно). 15 лет назад я был подписан на несколько англоязычных интеллектуальных журналов. 10 лет назад я уже ни на что не был подписан, но собирался подписаться на ежедневную газету, да так и не собрался. Сейчас эта мысль кажется абсурдной.
Сейчас обошел близсидящих коллег, опросил человек 15 (возрасты 20-50), подписаны ли они на какую-то газету и знают ли кого-то, кто подписан. У одного есть семейная подписка на Хаарец, еще у двоих подписка только на уикенд. У многих родители получают газеты, но никто из опрошенных не знал других людей своего поколения, подписанных на какую-то газету (включая тех, кто сам подписан - они оказались исключениями в кругу своих друзей).