I just read about the LA Times dropping their dedicated books coverage and eliminating staff. Not 10 minutes later I read about The Birmingham News and its plans to trim staff (which is a much nicer buyout deal than handing out pink slips).
I understand the competition and strain that newspapers are under. Plus, your larger news organizations are not the most nimble when it comes to redirecting content and adopting “new media” techniques. But they have to learn, and quick. Trained professional journalists are too valuable. I read a ton of blogs and websites. Most of them are good. But I still depend on the professional filters that journalists provide. There is too much noise and it’s nice to know that some folks are out there sorting through it for us.
At a minimum, I think every new organization that lets a reporter go should host them a blog for as long as they want to write. That seems fair to me! Think of all the extra traffic they’d get from content that they don’t have to pay for (except for the $5 in annual hosting fees).Plus, it would be a good way for them to get their feet wet in the digital age. I just don’t want all these skilled book reviewers and news hounds to go away. If they are over 50 and still doing their jobs it’s because they love and are good at it.
Why would you throw that away? New media or traditional print?
So that’s my contribution to the world this week. Give everyone a blog. Everything should be much better now.