You’re at a Parisian café, and you’re reading your Sartre book and you’re reading Le Monde and you’re thinking of the big issues of the world and you see there’s a dog under the table next to you and you pet the dog. You don’t suddenly become stupid when you pet the dog.
No one, least of all me, is suggesting that running a newspaper company is a piece of cake. But the people in the industry who are content to slide people out of the back of the truck until it runs out of gas not only don’t deserve tens of millions in bonuses, they don’t deserve jobs.
This is a really important point that doesn’t get made enough: A lot of big media’s wounds are self-inflicted. To take an example from one truck that ran out of gas, the total compensation for the top 15 people (combined business and editorial) at Newsweek in 2009 (the year it lost $30 million) was more than the entire budget for the Newsweek.com Website.
Village Voice Staff Stages Walk-Out
At exactly 4pm this afternoon, a creaking of chairs could be heard across the 3rd floor of 36 Cooper Square, and then an eerie silence as over 50 union employees and sympathizers walked off the job at the Village Voice, as a sign of dissatisfaction over the lack of movement by management at the bargaining table. The contract expires tonight at midnight.
Many of the walk-outs wore t-shirts emblazoned with a quote from Norman Mailer, one of the Village Voice founders: “Revolutions are the periods when individuals count most.”
After 30 minutes of spontaneous speeches, and the general consensus that the employees can’t keep working if the final offer by management will result in a reduction of their wages, they returned to work.
Stay tuned here for further updates.
Local Media Isn’t What People Want: They Want Liquid Media
The truth is that the numbers for AOL’s Patch efforts look bad, based on the southern California numbers leaked to Business Insider. It’s especially bad when you contrast them with traffic generated by Huffington Post, with is topical, not local.
The reality is people don’t want ‘reportage’ on a local level: they may want better search, and the ability to complain about potholes, but they aren’t super excited about the PTA board meeting, or even the local high school sports. Yawn.
People are signing up in the millions for experiences online like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, where traditional news has been reduced to a stream of social objects, and these find their way to us in social streams. Patch is the effort to build thousands of destination sites in a world where people are spending less time on sites, and more time inside social apps.
The saddest thing of all is that Greg Narain and I sketched out a project for AOL years ago called Nerdvana, which would have been a breakthrough in that area, building on the very considerable headstart that AOL had with AIM.
That’s what people still want, though. So AOL could divert a few million of that Patch money to a startup taking a hard look at what’s going on in Twitter and Tumblr, and do something interesting, instead of building a massive and unsustainable flop.
*cough* Neighborhoodr *cough*