The Science of Journalism

If I Had My Way
One Man's Opinion -- for what it's worth.


To: Margaret Sullivan - public@nytimes.com

Cc: Doug Skoglund - skoglund@turbousa.com

From: Doug Skoglund - skoglund@pdmsb.com

Date: 11 Jul 2014 00:00 am CDT

Subject: 2014022 - It's All About Egos - VI

Alan D. Mutter just published, "Newsosaur: Newspapers Can't Merely Dabble at Digital" -- in which he states:

The barrier to nimble and effective digital publishing at the Times is, as is the case at most other papers, its entrenched print tradition. 

And further down the page he states:

While the internal Times report recommends many ways to tinker with priorities, process and personnel, the real problem it identifies-without offering any solution-is the lack of commitment to changing the culture of the institution. In part, the inertia comes from the respect and affection that most of us share for the honorable tradition of print. But it also comes from not understanding that the Times, like all newspapers, has to be willing to aggressively disrupt and reinvent itself before readers and advertisers move on without it.

Of course, his entire piece tends more toward confusion, as opposed to clarity. He is fantasizing numerous problems when he makes a distinction between "digital publishing" and "entrenched print tradition" -- and then writes about "culture of the institution." 

Yes, culture is important; however, culture is determined by Arthur Sulzberger. He determines the culture, since all the people are working for him. If he wanted to change the culture of the Times, he would convince his employees that they really work for the customers/readers -- and measure them accordingly. 

The reader is the most important individual at the Times and the writer is the second most important -- celebrate the relationship between the two -- build on that relationship and Arthur Sulzberger will become the wisest newspaper owner in the galaxie.

Remember, writing is writing and reading is reading -- the mechanism for connecting the reader to the writer needs to be convenient for the maximum number of readers -- it's not digital vs. print. Those are not mechanisms, they are poorly defined processes -- both will survive -- both need a lot of work to support the primary purpose of being a "newspaper."

And that is most important -- It's not digital vs. print -- and it's not writer vs. reader -- it's writer plus reader -- digital plus print!!!!!

To be continued (I really hope) 

Doug Skoglund skoglund@pdmsb.com

I don't provide for comments since that is a system designed to control the communication process -- I do provide an e-mail address!! (Please put a [MYWAY] in your title to get my attention). 

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