I’ve been meaning to go on a rant for sometime about Henry Blodget’s really dumb idea to “fix” the New York Times. Among his ingenious new ideas: cut the staff, raise subscription rates, and charge an online fee. Gee, cutting staff! No one’s thought of that! Newspapers haven’t been cutting staff for the past couple of decades or anything! Charging online! What a great idea!
Blodget’s been rightly pilloried, but I’m mostly annoyed that he must believe no one has ever thought of those three very basic things. Everyone seems to think newspapers are run by journalists who are very doltish about running a business. The opposite is true; newspaper companies are run by business-people who don’t know anything about journalism. If they did, they wouldn’t keep making their products worse. When newspapers started moving to the web, they hired journalists who could write on it and programmers who could make it pretty. They didn’t hire the innovators who could harness it’s powers into a money-making machine. And that’s why I’m sick of all these staff cuts at newspapers. Reporters are doing their jobs. The Internet’s as old as I am. The allegedly smart people who make millions at these companies should have figured it out long ago.