I promised myself I would not step into the latest gnashing of teeth over the future of corporate media, but here I am.
About a week ago, David Simon (“creator of The Wire and Treme“), wrote this in the online Columbia Journalism Review:
It’s grievous what is happening to regional newspapers, especially. But the whole industry will continue to collapse until everyone swallows hard and goes behind a paywall…. Once the content of the larger papers is no longer available to aggregators, then regional papers can safely take that same path and, maybe, there is an online revenue stream that will allow high-end journalism to survive.
Short of that, the great Molly Ivins is right, this is nothing more than slow suicide.
Simon abandoned journalism (he once worked for the Baltimore Sun) for the confines of a pay-wall monopoly: HBO (owned by Time Warner and responsible for one-quarter of parent company profits in 2010). He’s clearly an excellent weaver of fictional stories, but that does not mean he understands digital economics or today’s news business or even the pressure that cable TV feels from fiber-to-the-home.