Bye, Bye, Buyout

The flood of names of people offering to leave The Dallas Morning News is numbing. Every update makes me jump out of my chair. The editorial cutbacks over there will change the basic nature of the newspaper forever. I can't believe some of the people they're losing.

But I'm just as depressed by the way the mainstream print industry reacts to its own demise. It's like a huge armada: One ship after another slips beneath the seas, and all of the captains take off their caps and mutter sadly, "Poor buggers. Well, nothing to do but keep to our course, I s'pose."

Do you think they might wonder if maybe they should change course?

There's a typically stupid story on the death of the newspaper industry in the current Economist, in which they mumble around about how bad it is out there for newspapers. They talk about how the performance of The New York Times' stock has been so crappy that the company almost got gutted this year by Morgan Stanley. But then they say journalism won't die because papers like The New York Times can just up their subscription rates.

Did anybody in our business even run a lemonade stand before going into journalism?

It's embarrassing. I especially hate it when people in the business complain about Wall Street. If we don't like Wall Street, we should buy out the shareholders and go private, but if we had access to that much money why would we bet it all on a loser like daily newspapers?

Does it ever occur to anybody that all of the big media, electronic and print alike, have lost their audience since they became virtual monopolies or cartels in their markets? And that happens because when a media company gets "safe" in its market, management no longer has to listen to the commies in the newsroom. Once firewalled from competition, the owners and managers are free to become the boring country club blowhards they always wanted to be, and their products reflect their own gin-and-tonic dullardosis.

Blah blah blah. Man, some of those names they're losing over there are knives in my heart. It's like a nuclear holocaust; the city is deserted; there is no food; the only people left alive are me and Wilonsky. And I'm gettin' hungry. --Jim Schutze

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