What’s the “value” of news, really?

Jerry Roberts writes for the Santa Barbara Independent that the woes of the San Francisco Chronicle ought to force everybody to face reality.

The future for newspaper journalists lies in fully understanding — and truly accepting, once and for all — that the value of the product is the news, not the paper, (emphasis mine) then moving full speed ahead on some version of web-to-print publication that merges daily breaking news coverage with a one-to-three day-a-week print product focused on analysis, opinion and explanatory journalism.

While I certainly agree that we need to find that “value” for news, the truth is the stage — in this case the paper — is what produces the business. We can talk all we want about the value of news, but the truth is it has zero value absent the stage on which it is presented. This is the strength and failure of mass media.

Comments

  1. I think it should read,

    The future for newspaper journalists lies in fully understanding — and truly accepting, once and for all — that the value of the product is the distribution system that delivers stuff, not the content. Then moving full speed ahead on identifying the tribes that live in the distribution area, learning how to tell the stories in the language of the tribes –not in the language of the journalists — and talk to experts in the various domains that are important to those tribes. And unless you are really an expert, keep the analysis, opinion and explanatory journalism to a minimum.

    Use versioned Print technology to radically improve the distribution system, sell local business print/web ads, and work with local media and commercial print partners to invent and sell marketing programs for the small and micro business in each tribe.

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