Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Newspaper Stories of the Year -- Really?

Editor & Publisher released its annual list of what it considers the Top 10 Newspaper Industry Stories of the Year.

The problem with the list? All the stories are about, well, newspapers.

Not included:
  • Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo's Polk Award win for tracking down the US attorneys general firings (long before the traditional media even had a clue anything was amiss, btw).

  • The rise of online organizations that are taking over the local news biz. Organizations like the Voice of San Diego, the St. Louis Beacon, and MinnPost.com.

  • The creation of new experiments, like spot.us, to try to discover new models for reporting and funding the news.

E&P's list reflects the fact that they continue to equate the news business with the newspaper business. It's as if horse-and-buggy people at the turn of the (last) century equated horse and buggies with transportation and refused to recognize that motor vehicle also equated transportation.

As long as the leaders in the newspaper business continue to see the newspaper as the core unit in this business -- rather than the practice of gathering and disseminating information, no matter what shape it takes -- they will remain fundamentally incapable, and thus unqualified, to help this industry find its future.

Photo courtesy of Bombardier. Creative Commons license.

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