"Inertia, fatalism, cost-cutting"

Dateline: Wed 26 Sep 2007

A conference in Great Britain on the future of newspapers raises some of the same points suggested by Michael Wolff in a Vanity Fair analysis last year: the problem with newspapers is not the Internet but the lack of vision among newspaper owners (and, I would add, management).

A friend/reader sent this link from Online Journalism Blog, published Sept. 24:

http://onlinejournalismblog.wordpres s.com/2007/09/24/preston-owners-are-to-blame-for-press-decline-not-the-net/

Here is the lead:

"Former Guardian editor Peter Preston has said that owners who are 'giving up the ghost' must take some responsibility for the decline of newspapers.

"Preston, speaking at the Future of Newspapers conference in Cardiff, said: 'The internet may be the deliverer of the coup de grace but it is not to blame for the decline of newspapers.'

"Instead, he blamed 'inertia, fatalism, and cost-cutting,' combined with social changes."

Preston discussed the introversion found in so many newsrooms -- the failure to see changes in the world around us. Wolff spoke in Vanity Fair of the fact that newspapers since the 1970s have been lamenting their deminse, moaning over circulation losses, etc., but also were paralyzed to take action. The head-in-the-sand mentality apparently plagues too many newspapers at the top; once again, perhaps they are too focused on life on the bottom line. Or they are simply dull, unimaginative counters of beans, without any head whatsoever for what news is.

Thanks to the reader who sent this link.

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