Old Media v. Blogs: The War That Time Forgot


Jonathan Last over at the Philadelphia Inquirer has a very traditional, and largely accurate, "blogs ain't all that" plaint, echoing themes that have been sounded by, for random example, our own Tim Cavanaugh in misty days of yore. But his wrap-up is not supported by any details in the rest of the article:

Do the [traditional media] have problems? Sure. Are some journalists bad at their jobs? Absolutely. But taken as a whole, the Old Media performs an enormous and valuable function that the New Media is neither able, nor inclined, to emulate.

And the marketplace is slowly coming to understand that.

Certain available evidence, like this Fortune article pointing out big media share prices and circulations falling, seem to cast doubt on that conclusion (though I do notice that "death of Old Media" article almost never discuss profit margins and their rise or fall for those companies). Is there any solid evidence that the marketplace has any growing understanding, slowly or otherwise, of the continued vitality and importance of traditional media? Maybe Last can blog on the topic somewhere–his Old Media article didn't make the case.

NEXT: Wall Street Journal: Educated, But Still Haven't Really Learned

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  1. I work at an “old media” company and I can tell you that there’s a lot more focus (and money) on “new media” than there is on the old stuff. This, despite the fact that it’s the old stuff that pays the bills (and continues to enjoy significant profit margins).

  2. Am I the only one who seems a little unnerved by how much that “Question? Sure. Question? Absolutely.” sounds a lot like Rumsfeld’s rhetorical style?

    I guess you print the news you have, not the news that’s true.

  3. I get my news for free online via Yahoo and elsewhere. I can, and do, set up categories I am interested in, such as the Mideast, and wind up with many more stories that interest me than “old media” ever could come up with. And the stories are much more up to date than a newspaper could ever be. Of course, you could say this is old media if you want to, since I am basically leeching off AP, AFP, Reuters etc. But I see no reason to buy a paper.

    As far as opinions are concerned, again, why should I pay good money to have a handful of the same columnists babble on about the same nonsense each week? Not to mention the editorial board. If they want to pay me to read their drivel, I might or might not do so. There are only so many hours in the day. But for me to pay them? Oh please.

    By reading blogs, and by checking out various online sites that have columns, I not only get opinions for free, but I get much more diverse access, and much more intelligent, well reasoned arguments than the take-it-or-leave-it opinions of the newspaper.

    If the daily and weekly papers and magazines want to “sell” their wares for free, I’d probably “buy” them. But I am still going to peruse online too.

    I do have cable though, so I am paying for stuff like CNN and FOX and CNBC even though I’d rather not. So I am still hooked by old media I guess.

  4. Don’t be so quick to try and destroy the ‘old media’. I agree that it needs to be ‘checked’ and monitored for its biases and sometimes arrogance.

    However, new media could never do the job of old media. And there is a standard that is maintained by ‘old media’. Anarachy in the media would be disastrous. The ‘new media’ needs the old media and the old media though it doesn’t like it, needs the new media.

    Or perhaps you’d like David Duke and Al Jazeera to be considered a potential mainstream publication in the US…. they could essily be included in an anarchous ‘new media’ world without the ‘Old Media’ giatns.

    I get as angry as anyone else about the bias of the wires and the syrupy bias on the NY Times.

    However, the Times in particular is an excellent source of news and a standard in the world.

    Holding them in check and inciting fierce debate with also having the likes of for instance Brit Hume on at 6pm and Hugh Hewitt is the means to a real debate and that’s what the real world should be.

  5. Plus, new media could never do the job that old media does…. the reporting, infrastructure etc… New media’s job is to analyze and check that which is what they do very effectively as well as bring to the fore anything unreported, missed or purposefully left out.

    But the new media predominately works off of the old media.

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