It’s been a long time since I wrote about the economics of information and the news ecosystem.
Right after the election, I provided a contrarian view to the Trump-won-because-of-Facebook allegation. Two subsequent angles bear examination: the Washington Post profiles two “yellow journalists” and how they use Facebook click-bait to make a lot of money and how the Trump campaign used Facebook “dark posts” to target niche voters. I’ll get there. Just not today.
This conversation with a blogger at the Financial Times focuses on my point that news has never been “free.” It came about as a response to an attack from abroad that Facebook and Google are the “bad guys” in this U.S. election.
The attack assumes a moral high ground for news organizations that simply doesn’t exist today. I’m not sure it ever did, although Walter Cronkite certainly made us think that it did. Here are three examples to make my point.
- USA Today/Gannett Sunday insert framing on Trump University $25 million settlement of racketeering charges
- Saturday Night Live skewers TV news in wicked West World-inspired skit
- CNN lives up to the parody by asking if Jews are people
I’m still mulling over my outsized response to the FT blog post.
And as much as I’m worried about fake news, I am even more concerned about the normalization of hate evidenced by my featured photo of Steven Bannon. The quote is from July at the Republican National Convention. And it is in direct contrast to this denial by Trump, made at an on-the-record press conference on Tuesday.
On Bannon:"If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him."
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 22, 2016
Trump is asked about concerns from minority groups about Breitbart News’s coverage under Steve Bannon. His reply: pic.twitter.com/FBqCGwQpBr
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) November 22, 2016
My essays on digital economics and media business models, with a dash of media criticism:
- Was the first 2016 presidential debate really the “most watched ever”? (September 2016)
- Skewed US media, print and TV, makes biased campaign news (March 2016)
- Facebook’s walled garden: too seductive for news companies to ignore? (March 2015)
- Who covers your state legislature? A disturbing report from Pew Research, if you care about democracy (July 2014)
- Upworthy headlines and copycats: just say no. Please. (February 2014)
- Make it stop! End click-bait headlines now (January 2014)
- Digital business models: a retrospective and maybe a class or keynote (January 2014)
- “Trust me” journalism, TIME style (January 2014)
- Future of news in an increasingly connected world (April 2013)
- Newspaper ad revenue down another 6% in 2012, but Google is not the reason (Apr 2013)
- Seattle Times to erect paywall (Feb 2013)
- How Buzzfeed infringes on copyright and TOS (February 2013)
- Beating a dead horse: another post about newspaper economics (June 2012)
- Carnival of Journalism: journalists as capitalists (Jan 2012)
- Pew Report: Search Still Drives News Traffic But Sharing Is Important (May 2011)
- Online revenue cannot rescue newspaper business model (Feb 2011)
- WSJ iPad pricing model is bad news (Mar 2010)
- Mythbusters: Subscriptions Don’t Cover Salaries (Mar 2010)
- Why the iPad (and kin) is unlikely to yield consumer savings (Feb 2010)
- Digital Information: Business Models in Flux (Jan 2010)
- Repeat after me: Newspaper consumers have never paid for content (Jan 2010)
- Putting numbers into context: a Hollywood primer (Dec 2009)
- Publishing Industry Responds to Digital Disruption by Delaying eBook Availability (Dec 2009)
- Murdoch on Google and pay-to-view (Nov 2009)
- Thinking about “free” (Oct 2009)
- “Aggregation” is not a villain (June 2009)
- Digital goods are non-rival: why is this concept so foreign to people? (May 2009)
- Future of journalism discussions need reality economics (May 2009)
- Response to “Ink-Stained Wretching” (Mar 2009)
- Follow up: No more free content (Mar 2009)
- No more free content (Mar 2009)
- Print model shifting (Nov 2008)
- Want to increase online news readership? (Oct 2008)
- Google, Others, Syndicating Video Into The Long Tail (Jul 2008)
- Book revision: Wikinomics (Jul 2008)
- The Long Tail, HBR Style (June 2008)
- Publishers Experiment With Online Editions (Feb 2008)
- Proposed internet radio license fees dwarf terrestrial radio (Apr 2007)
- Economics of scarcity (Nov 2006)
- Citizen journalism site gets $11 million investment (Feb 2006)
- It’s a la carte by any other name (Dec 2003)