Recession Chronicles: Help Save Newspapers - The Morton Plan
I have had the honor of working with Peter Tobia for several weeks in Pakistan. During that tour we have had countless conversations about photojournalism, world politics, and assorted subjects. During the years we have stayed in touch, and once in a while we have tried to make sense of the changes in our industry. This blog is a product of those conversations and how we can try to illicit positive dialogue that can shed light on our industry's current crisis.
Please join the conversation, check out the plan, and let us get the word out.
Newspapers are not dinosaurs. If you don't believe me, check out the circulation numbers after 9/11, presidential elections and the inauguration, just to mention a few examples. Newspapers are still vibrant and growing in ethnic communities in the U.S., Europe and parts of Latin America. Please leave your comments and ideas and engage in being part of the solution.
Carl Juste, Founder of Iris PhotoCollective
This blog was established to inform journalists of The Morton Plan: http://ajr.org/article.asp?id=4738 the proposal that newspapers charge for the content they produce. It is also a place to stimulate discussion, voice opinions and take an active role in determining the future of newspapers.
The disappearance of ad revenue, a troubled economy, the decline in newspaper circulation, as people move online to get their news, and heavy production and distribution cost of newspapers have put their existence in jeopardy.
Newspapers are not the enemy. Rather they are the source of most of the content that appears on the Web. The “crossing-their-fingers” advertising gamble newspapers hoped would work by giving their content away for free has been a disaster. Search engines along with news websites have turned profits through advertising at the expense of newspapers.
Newspapers publishers have dealt with their financial crisis by closing newspapers, reducing their work force through layoffs and buyouts, losing seasoned journalists who are knowledgeable and who strived for journalism excellence. This approach is like throwing the baby out with the bath water, making newspapers less compelling, less effective and less important to the people who read them.
Now is the time for newspapers to re-evaluate what they are doing and take a lead in determining their future, not only financially but in the concept of a strong press equals a strong democracy.
It goes without saying that newspapers, as we know them, are destined for change, whether they move completely online or adjust in other ways. But in the meantime, the content that is produced by hard work, creative vision, passion and commitment should not be given away for free.
There is power in numbers which can be a catalyst for action that can bring about change.
Communicate John Morton’s Plan to your newsrooms and establish an individual committee to push for your paper to begin charging for content, with July 4th being the target date.
Look for the logo and get behind the plan.