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This page is unavailable due to either geographic restrictions or other restrictions in place at this time. NOTE: other restrictions can be a result of our security platform detecting potential malicious activity. Please try again later as the restrictions may be lifted, or contact your service provider if the issue persists. One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.
I think about that conversation a lot these days. The problem newspapers face isn’t that they didn’t see the internet coming. They not only saw it miles off, they figured out early on that they needed a plan to deal with it, and during the early 90s they came up with not just one plan but several. One was to partner with companies like America Online, a fast-growing subscription service that was less chaotic than the open internet. Another plan was to educate the public about the behaviors required of them by copyright law. As these ideas were articulated, there was intense debate about the merits of various scenarios.
Would DRM or walled gardens work better? Shouldn’t we try a carrot-and-stick approach, with education and prosecution? In all this conversation, there was one scenario that was widely regarded as unthinkable, a scenario that didn’t get much discussion in the nation’s newsrooms, for the obvious reason. The unthinkable scenario unfolded something like this: The ability to share content wouldn’t shrink, it would grow. Digital advertising would reduce inefficiencies, and therefore profits.
Dislike of micropayments would prevent widespread use. People would resist being educated to act against their own desires. Old habits of advertisers and readers would not transfer online. Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception.
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In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists, while those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals. The last couple of decades haven’t been ordinary, however. Inside the papers, the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world increasingly resembled the unthinkable scenario. When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry.
Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en bloc. This shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. Here’s how we’re going to preserve the old forms of organization in a world of cheap perfect copies! The Wall Street Journal has a paywall, so we can too! Financial information is one of the few kinds of information whose recipients don’t want to share. Micropayments work only where the provider can avoid competitive business models. The New York Times should charge for content!
Cook’s Illustrated and Consumer Reports are doing fine on subscriptions! If the old model is broken, what will work in its place? To which the answer is: Nothing. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.
With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem. Elizabeth Eisenstein’s magisterial treatment of Gutenberg’s invention, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, opens with a recounting of her research into the early history of the printing press. She was able to find many descriptions of life in the early 1400s, the era before movable type.
Literacy was limited, the Catholic Church was the pan-European political force, Mass was in Latin, and the average book was the Bible. What Eisenstein focused on, though, was how many historians ignored the transition from one era to the other. But what was happening in 1500? How did we get from the world before the printing press to the world after it? What was the revolution itself like? Erotic novels appeared, prompting the same set of questions.
Copies of Aristotle and Galen circulated widely, but direct encounter with the relevant texts revealed that the two sources clashed, tarnishing faith in the Ancients. During the wrenching transition to print, experiments were only revealed in retrospect to be turning points. Aldus Manutius, the Venetian printer and publisher, invented the smaller octavo volume along with italic type. What seemed like a minor change — take a book and shrink it — was in retrospect a key innovation in the democratization of the printed word.
That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it.
There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie. If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run. This bit of economics, normal since Gutenberg, limits competition while creating positive returns to scale for the press owner, a happy pair of economic effects that feed on each other. For a long time, longer than anyone in the newspaper business has been alive in fact, print journalism has been intertwined with these economics.
The expense of printing created an environment where Wal-Mart was willing to subsidize the Baghdad bureau. This wasn’t because of any deep link between advertising and reporting, nor was it about any real desire on the part of Wal-Mart to have their marketing budget go to international correspondents. Daily Racing Form and L’Osservatore Romano as being in the same business. That the relationship between advertisers, publishers, and journalists has been ratified by a century of cultural practice doesn’t make it any less accidental.
The competition-deflecting effects of printing cost got destroyed by the internet, where everyone pays for the infrastructure, and then everyone gets to use it. And when Wal-Mart, and the local Maytag dealer, and the law firm hiring a secretary, and that kid down the block selling his bike, were all able to use that infrastructure to get out of their old relationship with the publisher, they did. They’d never really signed up to fund the Baghdad bureau anyway. Print media does much of society’s heavy journalistic lifting, from flooding the zone — covering every angle of a huge story — to the daily grind of attending the City Council meeting, just in case. This coverage creates benefits even for people who aren’t newspaper readers, because the work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to district attorneys to talk radio hosts to bloggers.
stanj May 19, 2017 at 20:41 UTC
The newspaper people often note that newspapers benefit society as a whole. We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it. The internet turns 40 this fall. Access by the general public is less than half that age.
Web use, as a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world, is less than half that age. Imagine, in 1996, asking some net-savvy soul to expound on the potential of craigslist, then a year old and not yet incorporated. What no one would have told you, could have told you, was what actually happened: craiglist became a critical piece of infrastructure. The answer is: Nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did, as octavo volumes did. Sometimes it’s been Wal-Mart and the kid with the bike.
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Sometimes it’s been Richard Mellon Scaife. Increasingly, it’s you and me, donating our time. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead. And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.
We don’t know who the Aldus Manutius of the current age is. It could be Craig Newmark, or Caterina Fake. It could be Martin Nisenholtz, or Emily Bell. It could be some 19 year old kid few of us have heard of, working on something we won’t recognize as vital until a decade hence. Any experiment, though, designed to provide new models for journalism is going to be an improvement over hiding from the real, especially in a year when, for many papers, the unthinkable future is already in the past. For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases.
Many of these models will rely on amateurs as researchers and writers. Many of these models will rely on sponsorship or grants or endowments instead of revenues. Many of these models will rely on excitable 14 year olds distributing the results. Many of these models will fail.
This entry was posted on March 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2. Both comments and pings are currently closed. So, I do understand what is happening in this industry.
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Clay Shirky out to the conference call participants afterwards. January 1848, James Wilson Marshall discovered gold while constructing a saw mill along the American River northeast of present-day Sacramento. The discovery was reported in the San Francisco newspapers in March but caused little stir as most did not believe the account. The spark that ignited the gold rush occurred in May 1848 when Sam Brannan, a storekeeper in Sutter’s Creek, brandished a bottle filled with gold dust around San Francisco shouting ‘Gold! Although he experienced a few days of sea sickness, he describes the voyage as enjoyable.
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Panama to look out for a chance to get up to San Francisco. We clung to the upper side, but were so thick that as night drew on the Capt. And often from 10 to 50 ft. Shufelt lived in a cabin with six other miners. The cabin had windows, a fireplace and an oven. The miners’ diet was poor with the result that many suffered from disease, particularly scurvy. Shufelt himself fell seriously ill, became deranged and was not expected to live but recovered in a week’s time.
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Others will lose their health, contract diseases that they will carry to their graves with them. There is a great deal of gambling carried on here. We are trying to get laws here to regulate things but it will be very difficult to get them executed. Since publishing this eyewitness account we have heard from a descendant of Mr. Shufelt who provided some additional information. His first name was Sheldon and he was born in 1818.
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He married his wife Margaret in 1844 and they had a son in 1847. Returning home from the goldfields, Sheldon was captured by Spanish bandits while crossing the Panama isthmus. He was confined and held for ransom. James Marshall – the original discoverer of gold – died on his claim in the gold fields in 1885 without even enough money to pay for his burial. California’s Gold Rush lasted until 1851. Search Obituaries from more than 1,500 Newspapers worldwide. Search the largest collection of Fishers obituaries and condolences, hosted by Legacy.
85 0 0 0 0 16. Women are the most marginalized, oppressed and downtrodden group in Pakistani society. Every day the newspapers are full of stories about horrible crimes against women. They are insecure just doing their daily and weekly errands while going to school, Churches and markets with the fear of being harassed, and they are insecure in their own homes with husbands, fathers, and brothers and even with brother-in-laws who commit domestic violence against them. When women report domestic violence to the police, it is often considered a domestic affair that does not involve the police, and so it goes unchecked. In Pakistan, domestic violence leads to honor killings.
Many honor killings have been committed against women who marry against their family’s wishes, who seek divorce or who have been raped. Honor killings are still practiced in Pakistan. The majority of the victims are women and the punishments meted out against the murderers tend to be very lenient. The practice of summary killing of a person suspected of an illicit liaison is known as Karo Kari. Pakistan has witnessed an alarming increase in the menace of so-called honor killing cases during recent years.
Humanity Healing International will stand to help women in Pakistan end the practice of Honor Killings and shift the mindset of Pakistani society to one of gender equality. Our partner, Hope Development Organization, HDO, has been actively involved to uplift and support the marginalized Women groups of Pakistani society, for last fourteen years. HDO has conducted several workshops on domestic violence and discrimination of Women’s Rights with the women of the lower castes. The initial training will be done in workshops that will give the WCAs more confidence and awareness about their rights and educate them about the laws for their protection, as well as possible solutions and plans of action. Once the 10 WCA groups are trained, these 500 women will begin to work in their districts to educate other women of their rights and options through a public advocacy campaign consisting of press conferences, public rallies, and a signature campaign targeting the Pakistan National Assembly’s Standing Committee Members and policy makers. Humanity Healing International will stand with Hope Development Organization and the women of Pakistan. Learn more about the House of Hope project to give women a safe haven to begin their lives again.
10, we will be able to start these programs to bring Hope to these women and girls. Tell your friends across your social media networks like Facebook and Twitter why this is important to you and encourage them to add their voices. Stay involved by keeping up with the latest news by subscribing to our feeds and joining our Cause on Facebook. Share this Badge, and the other pictures on this page, and the link to this page. Share your comments below and they will be posted on your Facebook page.