Questions in The Guardian We Can Answer

The first in our ever popular series, Questions in The Guardian We Can Answer:

Given this woeful history, it’s reasonable to ask why the issue of the future of journalism keeps being investigated, and why so little action results.

Because the people who buy ink by the barrel are the people losing their jobs.

That really is it, there’s nothing more to it than that. We have extant news outlets, those newspapers. Anyone can (and we are) set up to compete with them in this brave new world of online. Therefore the previous revenues flowing to those who write those extant newspapers are flowing in other directions. Those used to a comfortable life at a desk are losing their jobs. Why wouldn’t there be jeremiads to the loss of that nice life?

The only reason this is being discussed at a higher volume than today’s dreadful loss of buggy whip makers is that the physical switch makers didn’t have control of the places in which to whine in the manner the social scourges do.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. In the Good Old Days, before ring-pulls on beer cans, dental-floss bikinis and pizza as a staple food, newspapers had something called a sub-editor. Her or his job was to ensure that only the best journalism got into the paper. This was because the physical size of the newspaper was limited by the amount of advertising it could get. The cover price only covered a small fraction of the costs.

    Today’s Guardian, if printed, would be too heavy to carry around. Any blogger, and that’s what the modern online journalist amounts to, can write directly into the page. As long as the general tone of the article lines up with editorial policy, there are no come-backs for sloppy thinking, wild accusations and early-onset dementia.

    The Guardian, I must admit, enforces very high standards for grammar and spelling, but that’s as far as it goes. However it is competing with every damn fool (including me) who has an internet connection. Its business model is to tap into the virtually infinite demand for advertising clicks and views. The internet is really just a giant advertising machine, going round and around.

    The Guardian should be making a fortune. If it isn’t, there’s something wrong with the product. It doesn’t get enough page views. The Guardian is so desperate for revenue that it is threatening to become a subscription-only journal. This will limit the page views and thus the ad revenue. A better approach would be to re-think how to get more page views.

    I’m sure that this very question is the topic of frequent brainstorming sessions at The Guardian. In my not at all humble opinion, they have a mental block. They should be looking for ways to create content that people want to read. They insist on creating content that they want people to read, that they think people should read, that they think every right-minded intelligent person will automatically have to read. Sometimes they get it astonishingly right, but the page view statistic indicates that this doesn’t happen often enough. The word “quality” doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. It means the right quality.

  2. Yes but, if this new venture is to rely on items like this, you are using Guardian content which if that organ were to expire would not be available. This makes this here a meta-news outlet.

    OTOH, I don’t have to read the bloody Guardian to find out what is in it. Fortunately the entire crossword archive is online.

  3. Because we[1] f**king hate the Guardian and we can’t wait for it to die. In fact it is worse than that because we are enjoying the prolonged suffering of the journalists and staff at the Guardian. If we felt the slightest compassion for them we would ask for them to be put down in a humane manner.

    [1] For some definition of “we” of course. Not the political class who depend on the papers for the brown nosing that substitutes for achievement in their careers of course.

    What is odd is that some people in the Guardian can do real journalism. Just not, it seems, in the Guardian. To whit:

    https://www.gq.com/story/what-conservatives-get-right-about-guns

    The Guardian has a gun rights correspondent who just wrote a sensible article about guns. Wonders will never cease. But not, I note, in the Guardian.

  4. Yes, but the Guardian’s market is lefties. They expertly appeal to their market, giving readers the exact daily pap that will reinforce their preconceived class-warfare notions. That the Guardian does not appeal to us is irrelevant, as we will never read the rag (okay, Rhoda, maybe the crosswords) except to peruse the source of one of Tim’s commentaries. This explains why the sub-editors religiously enforce rules of grammar but don’t curtail the economic nonsense. It follows that the Guardian will not improve its take by offering more nearly “real journalism” as measured by us. It might improve its take by better monetizing its web content, or perhaps there is simply a diminishing return on stale progressive nostrums.

    PS – Of course, technology has allowed the Guardian to expand so that any attempt to print the paper on paper would cause the porch stoop to collapse, if the paperboy could even launch it. That is less of a problem than the same process applied to statutes.

  5. In the Good Old Days, before ring-pulls on beer cans, dental-floss bikinis and pizza as a staple food, newspapers had something called a sub-editor. Her or his job was to ensure that only the best journalism got into the paper. This was because the physical size of the newspaper was limited by the amount of advertising it could get. The cover price only covered a small fraction of the costs.

    Today’s Guardian, if printed, would be too heavy to carry around. Any blogger, and that’s what the modern online journalist amounts to, can write directly into the page. As long as the general tone of the article lines up with editorial policy, there are no come-backs for sloppy thinking, wild accusations and early-onset dementia.

    The Guardian, I must admit, enforces very high standards for grammar and spelling, but that’s as far as it goes. However it is competing with every damn fool (including me) who has an internet connection. Its business model is to tap into the virtually infinite demand for advertising clicks and views. The internet is really just a giant advertising machine, going round and around.

    The Guardian should be making a fortune. If it isn’t, there’s something wrong with the product. It doesn’t get enough page views. The Guardian is so desperate for revenue that it is threatening to become a subscription-only journal. This will limit the page views and thus the ad revenue. A better approach would be to re-think how to get more page views.

    I’m sure that this very question is the topic of frequent brainstorming sessions at The Guardian. In my not at all humble opinion, they have a mental block. They should be looking for ways to create content that people want to read. They insist on creating content that they want people to read, that they think people should read, that they think every right-minded intelligent person will automatically have to read. Sometimes they get it astonishingly right, but the page view statistic indicates that this doesn’t happen often enough. The word “quality” doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. It means the right quality.

  6. Yes but, if this new venture is to rely on items like this, you are using Guardian content which if that organ were to expire would not be available. This makes this here a meta-news outlet.

    OTOH, I don’t have to read the bloody Guardian to find out what is in it. Fortunately the entire crossword archive is online.

  7. Because we[1] f**king hate the Guardian and we can’t wait for it to die. In fact it is worse than that because we are enjoying the prolonged suffering of the journalists and staff at the Guardian. If we felt the slightest compassion for them we would ask for them to be put down in a humane manner.

    [1] For some definition of “we” of course. Not the political class who depend on the papers for the brown nosing that substitutes for achievement in their careers of course.

    What is odd is that some people in the Guardian can do real journalism. Just not, it seems, in the Guardian. To whit:

    https://www.gq.com/story/what-conservatives-get-right-about-guns

    The Guardian has a gun rights correspondent who just wrote a sensible article about guns. Wonders will never cease. But not, I note, in the Guardian.

  8. Yes, but the Guardian’s market is lefties. They expertly appeal to their market, giving readers the exact daily pap that will reinforce their preconceived class-warfare notions. That the Guardian does not appeal to us is irrelevant, as we will never read the rag (okay, Rhoda, maybe the crosswords) except to peruse the source of one of Tim’s commentaries. This explains why the sub-editors religiously enforce rules of grammar but don’t curtail the economic nonsense. It follows that the Guardian will not improve its take by offering more nearly “real journalism” as measured by us. It might improve its take by better monetizing its web content, or perhaps there is simply a diminishing return on stale progressive nostrums.

    PS – Of course, technology has allowed the Guardian to expand so that any attempt to print the paper on paper would cause the porch stoop to collapse, if the paperboy could even launch it. That is less of a problem than the same process applied to statutes.

  9. Plus one for the Guardian crossword. The fact they are kind enough to allow me to print it off on a single sheet of A4 without the necessity of reading any of their other garbage does not in any way cause me to feel any sympathy for them.

  10. Plus one for the Guardian crossword. The fact they are kind enough to allow me to print it off on a single sheet of A4 without the necessity of reading any of their other garbage does not in any way cause me to feel any sympathy for them.

  11. Agree with Spike’s point that it is for lefties, but this rather reinforces Rod Liddle’s observation that a hard core of about 200 thousand lefties have excessive influence on UK politics via the media and social media. The same people who click to sign all the lefty petitions that then get ‘debated’ in parliament are the most active in the online forums and comments sections of the Guardian, Indy etc (and to a lesser extent the Huff Post etc as they are more US lefty biased). The echo chamber they create then drives the ‘thinking’ of the media and political classes into a righteous groupthink centred around (mainly) identity politics and climate change which in turn become government policies. Brexit (and Trump) revealed that there is a world outside of the core 200k who actually worry about such desperately downmarket things such as a job, a roof over their head, access to decent education for their kids, access to decent healthcare, protection from criminals, protection from terrorists and resenting paying away half their wages to a spiralling bureaucracy of middle class parasites both here and in Brussels. The lefties are quite literally in shock as their echo chamber has been cracked if not shattered and so they have retreated to shouting louder about the things that matter to them, using the adhoms of identity politics (racist, fascist, and sort of ‘phobe’) to try and impose the ideals of the 200k on the rest of us. The Guardian remains the entrance to their echo chamber, but the reality is that there are not actually enough of them to make it profitable, not helped by the fact that most lefties appear to think that paying for things is someone else’s responsibility.

  12. Agree with Spike’s point that it is for lefties, but this rather reinforces Rod Liddle’s observation that a hard core of about 200 thousand lefties have excessive influence on UK politics via the media and social media. The same people who click to sign all the lefty petitions that then get ‘debated’ in parliament are the most active in the online forums and comments sections of the Guardian, Indy etc (and to a lesser extent the Huff Post etc as they are more US lefty biased). The echo chamber they create then drives the ‘thinking’ of the media and political classes into a righteous groupthink centred around (mainly) identity politics and climate change which in turn become government policies. Brexit (and Trump) revealed that there is a world outside of the core 200k who actually worry about such desperately downmarket things such as a job, a roof over their head, access to decent education for their kids, access to decent healthcare, protection from criminals, protection from terrorists and resenting paying away half their wages to a spiralling bureaucracy of middle class parasites both here and in Brussels. The lefties are quite literally in shock as their echo chamber has been cracked if not shattered and so they have retreated to shouting louder about the things that matter to them, using the adhoms of identity politics (racist, fascist, and sort of ‘phobe’) to try and impose the ideals of the 200k on the rest of us. The Guardian remains the entrance to their echo chamber, but the reality is that there are not actually enough of them to make it profitable, not helped by the fact that most lefties appear to think that paying for things is someone else’s responsibility.