These are not the best of times for print media and they are the worst of times for Editor & Publisher, the journalism trade journal. The Nielsen Co. announced today that it is shutting down Editor & Publisher, which has chronicled the newspaper business for 108 years.
Nielsen is selling eight other trade publications — including The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard — to e5 Global Media LLC, a new company formed by private equity firm Pluribus Capital Management, and Guggenheim Partners, a financial services company.
Two years ago, I observed that, “In many industries, the trade press has imploded.”
Since then, things have gotten worse for newspapers as well as the trade press.
According to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, “nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet.”
U.S. News & World Report has effectively abandoned the print news magazine format in favor of producing monthly guides, leaving news coverage to its website.
And according to Jeff Jarvis, who gave the opening keynote at SES Chicago 2009 on Monday of this week, the newspaper industry and trade press have no one to blame but themselves. Web browsers and websites have been around for 15 years, so print media companies had a long time to get ready for the revolution.
According to Jarvis, it’s pretty cynical to blame Google and Google News for giving publishers “100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue — for free.”
But it appears that Rupert Murdoch is trying to shift the blame for News Corp’s inability to adapt fast enough to the new “link economy” by stirring up what Jarvis calls “Google bigotry.”
Sites that aggregate news are NOT “parasites,” content kleptomaniacs, vampires, tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internet, or “thieves who steal our copyright” no matter what Murdoch says.
So, it may be worth listening to my interview with Jarvis again. I know I included it in the Top Stories at SES Chicago 2009 on Day 1, but it probably deserves a second look.
Or, listen to the entire Jeff Jarvis SES Chicago 2009 Keynote.
This issue won’t go away on New Year’s Day. This is going to be a big battle in 2010 and beyond.