(Photo from AfriGadget)
I don't write a blog. I hate the word. I sorta hate the concept, really.
I'm not sure what I'm doing. I was doing it before I knew there was a blogosphere. I liked the interface and jumped at it when I saw it. I write essays, I guess.
I thought it would be a new, interesting and destabilizing force in publishing. It would sort of democratize things. Everyone had a foot in the Internet door at birth all of a sudden.
It didn't work out like I figured. It certainly has upset the applecart of the monolithic media. The newspapers are drowning in front of our eyes. There's a reason for that that not many people understand.
It's true that the Intertunnel is killing print, but it's suicide, not homicide. The newspapers are not doing the only thing that will make them indispensable to the public, and so they are dying.
The news in the newspaper, and broadcast TV news, was just the come-on for the true reason the proprietors of those institutions existed. They got all the manna you could cadge out of holding information hostage so they could get their opinion higher up the totem pole of public discourse than anyone else.
I don't like seeing the glee among many observers that accompanies the daily layoffs in the newsrooms of the papers. These are real people, most not very wealthy, and their lives are wrecked because the owners of the paper don't care if they are the equivalent of Martin Bormann in the bunker -- so enthusiastic about the proximity to, and the effect on, the exercise of real power that they don't care that in a little while they'll have to bite the cyanide ampule themselves. Let's have a care for those mowed down that don't have a triple-barrelled name and a trustfund, shall we?
The New York Times sells their building and their jet and lay off thousands who are just doing their job, but they pay hundreds of thousands -- millions -- to keep the Op-Ed page going, and the bigshot managers in caviar at their Long Island Gold Coast getaways.
All I can get on the Internet is opinion. It's an enormous sea of opinion. Everyone is doing for free what Maureen Dowd wants to earn a phone number for. That can't last. But they'll sacrifice the entire news operation on the altar of opinion to keep it going to the bitter end
The democratization of opinion would tell a normal person in a position of authority at a newspaper to abandon opinion and put factual information first, last, and always in the paper. And maybe not print it, just offer it in pixels. They refuse to do it, because of the Martin Bormann syndrome they've got. They'll fire everyone but never give an inch, because it's not exciting enough for them to be useful; they want to matter, and disproportionately so.
This man is the future of information:
A man with a chalkboard in Liberia is smarter than Pinch Sulzberger.