The seven deadly sins of today’s newspapers
We compiled this list after reading newspapers around the world, listening to their editors and executives and after committing many of these sins by ourselves.
We believe it’s a high time to confess. We invite you to join us. Let’s wash ourselves and move to change this world.
- ”The trend is that newspapers are going down. The only thing we can do is to manage this decline.”
- ”People don’t buy newspapers just for news any more. In our view newspapers are cultural packages now: we have to add DVDs and books and… to make readers buy our product. There is no other way.”
- ”We will not advertise this editorial offer, as it is not going to give us circulation increases comparable to DVDs, or books, or…”
- ”We cannot try to run this project, as we tried it many times before and it was not working.”
- ”Newspaper business is no longer about producing and selling content. It is now just about delivering eyeballs to advertisers.”
- ”Newspaper business is no different than any other industry. It has to deliver the same profits to its shareholders as other industries. If not, it is worthless.”
- ”We cannot invest in this, because shareholders don’t believe in print any longer.”
- ”We cannot keep this project for a year, as shareholders demand results withing a quarter.”
- ”Newsroom is only a cost generator. We have to keep it as small as possible, as the content it produces is just an addition to advertising.”
- ”We don’t need to have journalists everywhere. We can use wires, syndicates, press-releases, information posted on the web. Aggregation is a new way to deliver content.”
- ”Newspaper is a product. From the marketing point of view there is no difference between a newspaper and a washing powder.”
- ”Let’s do more research. We will ask readers what they want and simply give it to them.”
- ”Yes, we know that our research department did such a survey. But we know how it is without reading it.”
- ”We will not assign this research, because nobody is in fact using it. Our drawers are full of surveys that have never been used.”
- ”A publisher cannot trust his editors and journalists. They really don’t know what readers want.”
- ”People in general are stupid. They will buy everything.”
- ”Editors are always wiser than their readers. They are the proffesionals.”
- ”Circulation is falling down? Let’s change something in the newspaper. Let’s do a redesign, but of course we should not touch the content.”
- ”We don’t need to publish any car, or computer, or travel section, as we know from our research that our target group does not use cars, or computers, or they don’t travel.”
- ”We publish a serious newspaper. We don’t need anybody to love us. We are not like Apple. Newspaper is not an iPod. Journalism cannot be fun.”
- ”Today people don’t have time to read. The newspaper should carry shorter stories on less pages. (And by the way – we have to cut costs.”
- ”Young people don’t want to read about serious things. They prefer light topics: celebrity, gossip etc.”
- ”Readers don’t really want to know what’s happening in other parts of the country, or abroad. We have to focus on local news (and by the way: it is much cheaper than sending a reporter to China).”
- ”It goes this way for years. What can we do about it?”
- ”Does anybody know any person who is using our horoscope, or crossword, or TV guide? No. So let’s drop it.”
- ”Newspapers must be objective. They always have to give the same attention and space to both sides of the story. Another way would mean we have to make a decision and take responsibility.”
- ”We are an independent newspaper. We don’t have any agenda. We don’t publish any comments. We simply report facts.”
- ”We cannot even think about this project, as we don’t know if it is going to be successful.”
- ”We should not write about that. This company is really wealthy and we don’t want spend years in courts.”
- ”We are a quality, intellectual, business, up-market daily newspaper. We don’t need such down-to-Earth content like sports, or popular culture.”
- ”Of course we want to have female readers. But it is not that easy. Our newsroom is mostly male and these guys don’t want to hire any women.”
- ”Serious newspaper should not be colourful. We cannot even think about puting coluor photos or ads on the frontpage.”
6. Moving in herds
- ”Everybody is doing blogs, video, user-generated-content… now. We have to do exactly the same. Does anybody know any geek who can start the first blog?”
- ”We go multi-media as the whole company. Every journalist will now have to write breaking news online, blog, take photos, shoot videos (and by the way: we don’t want to pay any extra).”
- ”Oh, our competitors write about it, or don’t write about it. Let’s do the same.”
- ”Everybody is doing these promotions these times. We cannot survive without it, even we cannot afford them.”
- ”Infotainment is a big thing. We have to be more like television.”
7. The sin you can add
We really hate these things in today’s newspaper journalism and publishing.
What do you hate? Tell us and help to finish the list.
Do you agree with our choices? Or do you disagree? Please make a comment on all the sins below.
We will appreciate your opinion very much.
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