Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sailing towards an iceberg

For the past couple of years, I have been fiddling with various RSS homepage feeds for my PC and mobile devices. Probably, consistent with many people, only a small minority (1 or 2) of the feeds comes from major newspapers. Sure, I do enjoy a good NYT or WSJ read, and, to keep up with my smart friend Larry, I have to read the NY Post's P6. Nonetheless, keeping up with the news, and in the dialog, has little to do with newspapers (or broadcast news).

All Things Digital, carries a synopsis of the speech given by The NY Times CEO, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. He sees the paper sailing towards the iceberg but does not know which way to turn to avoid the upcoming collision. The full speech is worth reading on NY Times corporate site here. It reads like someone advertising for a CEO, relieving him of the execution burden, while he focuses on strategy and pleads why the the paper is still relevant.

John C. Dvorak, of PC Magazine, weighs in with his acerbic, yet right on two cents. His view of the newspaper industry's decline, and possible salvation is here.

GM, Chrysler, and Ford greatly contributed to their problems by producing terrible products and reveled in creating a culture where they, and their dealers, were so happy to screw their customers. Though I may not agree with many of the editorial opinions, I do respect the integrity and commitment of organizations such as The NY Times, WSJ, and others.

I fervently hope that what inevitably supplants these institutions has sufficient critical mass to maintain the tradition of the Fourth Estate and keep our democratic institutions vibrant and accountable.

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