Sunday, April 19, 2009

Newspaper people: stop blaming Google and restructure from within

This blog entry from the "Newsosaur," "Don't blame Google for newspaper woes," is right on.

In it, Alan D. Mutter (prior editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others, and on the adjunct faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley) responds to newspaper people blaming Google for their woes and emphasizes that Google isn’t responsible for saving the newspaper industry or journalism — publishers and editors are.

"For the record, newspapers actually had a head start over Google. But Google 'got' the web. And newspapers didn’t. That’s not Google’s fault... As Google and many other savvy online publishers learned how to capitalize on the openness and interactivity of the Internet, newspaper publishers stubbornly spent the last 1½ decades trying to sustain their once-enviable print business model in the face of overwhelming evidence that everything was changing: technology, consumer patterns and advertiser behavior."

As much positivity as I spew about journalism not dying and us needing to have faith in ourselves, this much I believe is true: we are the ones that need to dig ourselves out of this hole. And, we are.

I worked at a newspaper where we would never consider posting articles online before they were printed. Never. That's how it was.

Now? As soon as pieces are written, they are published online. The morning newspaper contains almost everything you've already read and maybe even blogged about the night before. And in the rush to be the first to publish a story online, newspapers helped to make themselves less important.

We will all miss newsprint on our hands but we need to embrace change to save the industry.

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