Qual­ity — the sac­ri­fi­cial lamb of 21st cen­tury pub­lish­ing

The Insider - - JOURNALISM -

In the glory days of print, high-qual­ity jour­nal­ism was af­ford­able. But when the web be­came ubiq­ui­tous and dig­i­tal cents started re­plac­ing print ad dol­lars, pub­lish­ers started cut­ting back jour­nal­ists and the num­ber (and choice) of words those left could pro­duce — sac­ri­fic­ing qual­ity for the so-called “greater good” of sav­ing the in­dus­try. But in­stead of sav­ing pub­lish­ing, that move opened the door to pri­vate eq­uity funds, hedge funds, and other new in­vest­ment in­ter­ests that quickly started buy­ing up pa­pers, with the pri­mary in­tent be­ing to squeeze out as much cash as pos­si­ble. The re­sults have not been pretty.

Get­ting peo­ple to pay for qual­ity news is hard enough; no one will pay for a pa­per with half the con­tent it once had, es­pe­cially when the half left af­ter a cash grab is not worth the pa­per it’s printed on.

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