Corporate Media Still Doesn't Get It

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJuly 14, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 24:   The day's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle is shown at a newspaper stand February 24, 2009 in San Francisco, California. After posting losses of more than $50 million in 2008, parent company Hearst Corporation announced today that unless it can negotiate cutbacks with unions, it may sell or close the 144-year-old newspaper.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It's the same flawed argument over and over again; the Internet is killing print media.  Talking heads on TV, voices on the radio, and even articles in the dying print media—it's always the same pity party.

While the Internet is no doubt killing sales of newspapers and magazines, the pundits still don't know why—even though they think they do.

Whether it is politics, entertainment, or sports, the song never changes

"Oh, the Interwebs are free.  How can we compete with something that is free?" 

Last I checked, individuals with an Internet connection are paying for the service.  In most cases, a much higher price than the monthly bill for a home delivered newspaper or magazine.   

Concerning the slow death of print media, I have a simple theory.

We are better than you. 

You can try all you want to separate yourselves from us with words like "bloggers," "blogsphere," or "citizen journalists," but the cold truth remains. 

We are more acute to the pulse of today's cultures and society than you will ever be.

Last night (for about the 30th in a row) I got lost in this site.  Reading all kinds of articles—some good, some great, and some flat-out brilliance.

For example, take Greg Eno's article about Tiger Stadium's 1971 MLB All-Star Game

For myself, it read like a yarn that I'd like to tell my grand kids when I'm sitting in my porch rocker with a piece of straw dangling from my mouth.  It was so fluid, so vivid, so eloquent.

And, yes, so much better than anything in a modern day newspaper or glossy magazine.

Though I was only 124-days-old at the time, Eno's piece not only made me feel as if I were at the ballgame, it made me feel like I was kid living in pre-bailout Detroit. 

Would a newspaper allow a colorful 900-word article in their sport section?  Nope.  Even if it were written by their top columnist.

Would ESPN Magazine, Sports Illustrated, or the Sporting News print it?  Not today.  Not without major censoring.

Those magazines, and others like them, have become stale and about as edgy as a Leave It To Beaver rerun. 

No chance would your overpaid, politically correct editors allow an article that says stuff like, "'Ain’t no way,' Ellis, who was black, told reporters, 'they gonna start two brothers against each other in the All-Star game.'"

A reporter, much less a white reporter, referring to a black player who describes his future mound opponent as "brother?"  That doesn't use proper Queen's English when saying "gonna" rather than "going to"? 

Openly discussing race might make our readers send letters threatening to cancel their subscriptions. 

Wake up, corporate media. 

Most blacks, whites, gays, heteros, Christians, Muslims, or any of the other tons of people who you routinely describe as different from one another openly talk, on a daily basis, regarding these differences.

Or take this statement.

"Ellis wasn’t exactly a wallflower as a player, or as a person. He once pitched a no-hitter, and maintained that he had done so under the influence of the hallucinogen LSD."

Without an immediate vilification of illicit drug use before or after those sentences you would not even think of taking that to print.  It may seem as if your publication is saying "Just Say Yes" to drugs. 

Wouldn't want to risk a potential lawsuit.

Until you corporate bosses stop thinking like your fathers, or stop fiddling with the strings of your puppet editors and journalists, your publications will continue to become less and less relevant.

Yes, in the near future you will charge for online subscriptions.  Will that help?  Nope.

Superior sites like Bleacher Report and many others that feature the mere citizen journalists will remain free.  And guess what?

We will still be better than you.