Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The Reverse Hockey-Stick Slide For Newspapers -The Media Disruption Is Far From Over

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 29, 2012

There seems to be a perception that much of the disruption in the media sector has been done and that we are now at a (lower) plateau of some kind and that a recovery in the industry's fortunes is underway.

I like to remind people that we are not yet done with the disruption, there's plenty more ahead of us! And it won't be pretty.

Here's a very dramatic reminder of the challenges facing traditional media companies:

It's a graph published by Henry Blodgett editor and founder of Business Insider from his post:

HOLY CRAP: Look What Just Happened To Newspapers!

The inflation adjusted graph shows the hockey-stick slide to hell for newspapers. (What is the reverse of a hockey stick when it's going down? I propose helter-skelter.)

The TV industry's graph will follow a similar trajectory if Google and its allies have their way with IPTV.

There's quite a lot of glee in Mr Blodgett's reporting about the media industry's woes. He notes:

... thankfully, we no longer have to rely on the judgment (and worldview) of a handful of super-powerful gatekeepers to decide what we can and can't know.

The tinge of delight in this and other reports by Mr Blodgett on the New York Times and the newspaper industry problems is understandable. Mr Blodgett was hammered by New York Times and many other leading newspapers for his prosecution and fine by the SEC and his ban from Wall Street due to unethical practices in his work as a top analyst covering the Internet sector. Some considered him a scapegoat for a much larger group that got away with massive profits during the dotcom boom.

Mr Blodgett has made a very successful comeback with Business Insider - a very popular news publication based in New York City. We are still waiting for the New York Times' and the rest of the newspaper industry's comeback.

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There's been much criticism of journalists and the quality of articles, mostly because they are over-worked and under-paid.

But it seems that in good times or bad, journalists have always had trouble with their image, it's always being tarnished in some way. I was reminded of this fact reading a Christopher Hitchens essay about journalism called: Fleet Street's Finest.

He finishes by offering an answer to an age-old question:

Why does the profession of journalism have such a low reputation? The answer: Because it has such a bad press.

The press isn't getting any better.

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