Wednesday

The Cost of Stuff

I live in Red Sox Country but am a Yankee fan. Needless to say, I have a special attitude toward certain people and I have to love being hated and criticized. It comes with the job. As a result, my facts need to be right and I must be confident. But some people are just not comfortable when they loose, and I get to listen to their fans whine on sports talk radio, or when the market has decided that their product is not worth anything. Such is the case with the media.

In case you didn't know, newspapers are not doing well, especially liberal ones. And of those who want to charge for on line content, only the Wall Street Journal is making a profit. Why? Because people don't want to pay for their journalism. Why? Does it matter? Change it, genius. What moron sticks with a product that his consumer doesn't want to buy? Apparently, the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and a host of other institutions that just don't get it.

See, guys, whatever people will pay for your service, product, talent or advice - that's what it's worth. "Free is too Expensive" - that's what a recent media week story said. At the World News Conference, media people were complaining that they set the bar too low, giving out "quality" reporting for free on the internet. Well, even though things might take a lot of time and effort to produce, that doesn't necessarily mean that people should pay for it.

We have two problems here. One, the media is simply whining that the market has changed. With new technology, people just don't need to buy what they used to. This is life. We don't take the horse into town anymore. We don't need to head out to the barn to get milk. We don't have a VCR in the house. Get over it and change. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how markets work, no surprise that the media misunderstands that one though.

Next, and as far as anyone knows I mean this with all due respect, the media needs to get over itself. Most people can read and write a news story. It isn't difficult. Honestly, I'm doing it right now. It's taken me 10 minutes. Anyone can sit behind a desk and read what happened that day. That isn't all journalists do, since they need to add their left-wind slant to it, but these aren't difficult tasks that ordinary people can't do. Please understand, media, your job is easy. No series of complex calculations are needed, years of memorizing and learning in medical school are not required. It's not rocket science. I taught high school English. Trust me, you can take a 10th grader and teach them do to do what the media does and it wouldn't take that long.

With new technology and innovation the old must evolve, a process that happens every day on our planet, unless the media want to join the dinosaurs they are fast becoming.

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