Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Saint Steven frets about blogger nation

Posted on | June 3, 2010 | 3 Comments

Steve Jobs could belch and get national play. He did so this week at All Things D, where he said he doesn’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. We must do everything in our power to find ways The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc. can continue to get paid to create the stories they do, Saint Steven declared.

Ok, No. 1, we are a nation of bloggers. That horse is out of the barn. Steve Jobs copy

No. 2, it’s amusing to hear the man who has single-handedly crushed one  traditional business model (music) with iTunes come to the defense of another. Could it be that Steve holds these people in the palm of his hand and is loathe to lose that control? (See case of the missing iPhone prototype, cops ransacking reporter’s home at Apple’s behest, etc.)

Let’s be honest. The iPad or some type of e-reader will help the publishing business to some degree. I have no doubt about it.

But only the publishing business can save the publishing business. Executives right now think “advocacy donations” for journalism aren’t the way to go, according to a Pew Research poll. So what to do?

The way to survive is not rocket science: Publish stories no one else can get and write from perspectives others don’t consider. The last remaining strength of the lingering few journalists is they get paid to spend time (time=money) covering. Use the time wisely. Don’t cover an earnings call or even an Apple press conference that 10 zillion bloggers will live-blog. Use your time to find stuff other people don’t have the time or expertise to dig up.

Print it. And they will come.

And Steve will be pleased.

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3 Responses to “Saint Steven frets about blogger nation”

  1. Lou Covey
    June 3rd, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    “Use your time to find stuff other people don’t have the time or expertise to dig up.”

    But Brian, that’s what bloggers do :).

    You make a great point. The definition of “news” as I was taught was anything not normal. That ceased to be true about 20 years ago, maybe longer. We need to get back to that.

  2. Steve Leibson
    June 10th, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

    Somehow, saying that improved product quality will bring the customers back leaves me queasy. My impression is that the US at least has seen a race to the bottom in terms of product quality in the name of price. An audience weaned on mindless entertainment, with a need to be constantly entertained, doesn’t seem to me to be a sure market. Certainly, there are niches where people value information. These niches support profitable newsletters. Mass market media? I’m not seeing it as a profitable venture in the future with blogging nation afoot.

  3. Brian Fuller
    June 11th, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    Well, Steve, the alternative to seeing the pendulum NOT swing back is not pleasant either. At all levels, we need to derive more value out of the things and content we produce and not less.
    One encouraging sign: you’re seeing so many free websites now trying to stuff back the toothpaste in the tube and charge for their services (e.g. Ning). Monetizing content through advertising has finite upside, even in the huge Internet universe.

    Think about the activity and the time devoted to it in a given day. If the activity is information gathering and you spend an hour a day doing it, it’s incumbent on content producers to make theirs as valuable an hour (or 15 minutes) as possible because they can’t compete on volume.

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