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Acknowledge and Move On: A Useful Debate Format

Mindy McAdams tries to kick start a useful conversation about the future of journalism by outlining 10 facts that should not be part of the debate. Here’s a select few:

#1. Newspapers did NOT make a huge mistake by giving the content away for free.

#5. Newspapers were a nice business … However, this is clearly over. It’s done. It worked for a long time, but now, like trans-Atlantic leisure travel in big passenger ships, it will never work again.

As we’ve recently discussed, book publishers would be well served by a similar debate format — i.e. put away past models and current fears so you can take on the issues and opportunities at hand.

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Comments: 5

  1. I would argue that #5 is a bit extreme. Completely over? Done? No, there is still a place for the big printed soy-based ink and paper product just like there is still a market for luxury liners. Clearly, new media is taking the lead and its momentum is robust. To be financially sound, every good girl scout remembers, make new friends but keep the old..one is silver and the other gold.

  2. @Marianne: I don’t want to put words in Mindy’s mouth, but my interpretation of #5 is that the days of massive profits with huge margins are gone. Newspapers will remain in some form, but the structure of the business is going to change. We’ll probably see some Web/print/broadcast hybrid models develop that distribute content through appropriate mediums. Or maybe we’ll have holograms 😉

  3. Certainly the days of Mac Slocum riding luxury liners to Europe are not over. It may be argued that they have yet to begin!

  4. @Brian: I look forward to those days … 😉

  5. Acknowledge and move on: the book version
    let me give this a shot…

    1. It is different this time — just because the Rocket ereader didn’t take off doesn’t mean you can keep your head in the sand

    2. Print is not dead — the book won’t change, but the industry sure will

    3. The price of the printed book can’t be the same as the ebook

    4. The current industry supply chain cannot be sustained — future combined print/digital revenues won’t support it

    5. Pirates and filesharers are not the same people. Don’t sue the readers.

    6. Give up hope re: DRM — Copy protection didn’t work in music, tv, and movies — it is not going to save us.

    7. Change is geometric — when the crisis comes it comes suddenly. We can’t control how/when the industry will flip, but we can prepare for it.

    8. Open standards pay off. Closed ecosystems stunt growth. Proprietary formats strangle it.

    9. Non-traditional filters and gatekeepers (i.e., those on the internet) are allies not enemies.

    10. The internet isn’t a printing press. You can’t publish to the net and forget.