This is why your newspaper is dying

Ryan Cash complains about online newspaper sites:

Another HUGE complaint I’d like to add to Brad’s list is when these websites draw a story out over 10 pages.

Welcome to the Internet — a place where physical pages don’t exist, and there’s no such thing as “no space left”. There is absolutely NO REASON for any story to span over more than one single page.

I wholeheartedly agree.

But the problem here isn’t cluelessness on the part of the editors. The problem is that newspapers aren’t in the business of providing news, and they never have been. They are in the business of gathering page views. They used to call it circulation, and they used to sell half-page ads, classifieds, and coupon inserts, but it’s the same game as it ever was (except less profitable).

Back in the 90s, I toured a local NBC affiliate’s offices with a friend who was in the news business. Two things I heard that day have informed my opinion of commercial news ever since.

My friend, a local news producer for many years:

How we decide what’s on tonight’s news: News is whatever I say it is.

Down in the bowels of the building was a room where two men watched a wall of monitors. A videotape robot busily swapped tapes behind them. This room aired the commercials.

This is the only room in the whole building that matters. What you think of as TV is just the stuff we cram in between commercials to keep you from changing channels.

This is Why Your Newspaper is Dying