And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes

but where it’s going, no one knows1

Nifty article here about whether the crisis in the newspaper industry does or does not mean the end of journalism, and how nobody knows how to convert the inherent value of a well-done blog with a consistent theme & loyal readership (*cough* wetmachine *cough*) into money. This is not an especially new subject, but the article is well done with some telling anecdotes & a bit of a contrarian angle.


(1) Nick Lowe/Rockpile approximate lyrics below the fold

I remember the night the kid cut off his right arm
In an effort to save a bit of power
He got fifty thousand watts
In a big acoustic tower
Security’s so tight tonight
Oh they’re ready for a tussle
Gotta keep your backstage passes
‘Cause your promoter has the muscle
And so it goes and so it goes
And so it goes and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows
And so it goes and so it goes
And so it goes and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows
In the tall buildings
Sit the head of our nations
Worthy men from Spain and Siam
All day discussions with the Russians
But they still went ahead
And vetoed the plan
Now up jumped the U.S. representative
He’s the one with the tired eyes
747 for the midnight condition
Flyin’ back from a peace keepin’ mission
And so it goes and so it goes
And so it goes and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows
And so it goes and so it goes
And so it goes and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows
In the air there’s after shave lotion
In the wake of a snake-hipped Persian
On his arm is a skin-tight vision
Wonder why she ain’t mine, she is his
And so it goes and so it goes
And so it goes and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows
And so it goes and so it goes
And so it goes and so it goes
But where it’s goin’ no one knows

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2 Comments

  1. JohnMc says:

    The publishing industry problems are all on the back end. The need for multi-million dollar presses and the debt load to service them is passe. After all that investment the final product still shows up about 48hrs AFTER the event occurred. Yet some guy with blog can be churning out current copy for about $6k of investment.

    I saw somewhere out on the ether than someone suggest maybe what NYT ought to do is offer every reader a Kindle and ditch the presses. The reader just pays for a download on a monthly subscription. Odd thing — It could work.

  2. John says:

    Well, JohnMc,

    I love it when you and I agree. The simple fact is, however, that lots of newspapers are saddled with crushing debts incurred during go-go years not too long ago when transformative capitalists jumped in big time, and bet wrong.

    There has always been this odd tension between the press as a public good, protected in the Constitution for Lord’s sake, with the role of keeping an eye on the Guvmint, and the press as a money-making venture like any other money-making venture.

    When the “make money” function overwhelms the “public good” function, you get what we have now — a press in free-fall. (Yes, I know: the internet, the internet, the internet. That too.)

    Anyway, I do recommend you read the article (if you haven’t); your point is addressed square on.

    I’m proud of the high quality original reporting that has been done here on wetmachine. Virtually none of it by me, of course. Harold and Greg do the heavy lifting in that department.

    But what’s their financial reward for that? Sure, it’s good advertising for them — they demonstrate great ability to investigate difficult, important, complex topics, synthesize arguments and points of view, and explain them cogently.

    Harold Feld has invested hundreds–a thousand, maybe?–of hours researching and writing wetmachine articles over the last five years or so. For which I, the Wetmachine domain owner and thus “publisher”, sorta, have paid him exactly zero dollars and zero cents over.

    We’ve discussed ways to improve the site to draw more readers and maybe even make some money, but all of them involve investment in time, and maybe even money, and all of them would be gambles. I sure wish we could do some more original reporting here. But sheesh, it’s expensive. Reporters have to eat and pay the rent, you know.

    And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes and so it goes.

    In any event, you can have my wetmachine when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers, etc, etc. We’ll keep keeping on.

    I just wish I knew how to make a little more scratch off the site. Like, enough to to pay the hosting bill would be a good start.

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