Judge Posner’s Incorrect Verdict – He hacks on and on about the “crisis” in old media in the Times Book Review – let’s just say that living with a member of the “old media” gave me some insights that I enjoyed reading about in this piece:
Yet as Paul Farhi explains in a persuasive American Journalism Review feature, newspapers may be dinosaurs but “dinosaurs walked the earth for millions of years.” Newspapers still set the news agenda, he notes. Even with reduced readership and circulation, they still have the largest number of paying customers, who are much coveted by advertisers. And they are phenomenally profitable. Farhi writes, “[T]he mistake the newspapers-are-dead crowd makes is believing that trend lines continue in the same direction forever. It pays to remember that new communications media rarely eliminate the old ones; the old simply adapt to accommodate the new. So movies didn’t eliminate novels and TV didn’t eliminate movies or radio.” Who is more deeply invested in new media, especially the Web, than the old media? If they can turn a buck, they’ll willingly plow their newspapers into Web sites. In his rush to complete the piece, Posner also ignores the fact that millions more read quality journalism from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times because they’re available on the Web. The ability of these news organizations to profit off their Web presence might be lagging, but not their influence.
The article from the Book Review: Bad News