Quote - Feb 14, 2020

"... incompetence is the biggest reason media is where it is."

Here we go again. We've seen this movie, multiple times. Big Tech creates products that allegedly help the media, the media signs away more of its soul out of fear of missing out, and when the latest tech savior idea flops, the media whines about Big Tech. Rinse and repeat, again and again and again.

Today's top lovable story at Mediagazer.com

Sources: Google is in talks with publishers about paying a licensing fee for content that would be in a premium news product

https://mediagazer.com/200214/p5#a200214p5

The Mediagazer links points to a Wall Street Journal story.

The "comment" below will probably be the best observation found in the "discussion" attached to that Medigazer link:

@rafat: Celebration of this news by mediatypes on Twitter here is proof that either they've very short memories, or have no idea to — or no interest in — building a long term business, or all of the above. That is why I have said incompetence is the biggest reason media is where it is.

Incompetence among the media industry receives 100 percent of the blame for the media's woes, especially among the newspaper industry. Big Tech is not to blame for the stupid decisions made by media orgs over the past 25 years.

Back in the aught years, Rafat created a media org/website that he sold. Last decade, he started another website/business.

Here's another tweet by Rafat that was attached to that Medigazer link.

I have always said: run the other way when platforms come wanting to pay you. It won't end well, no matter what. BUT, no one wants to think long term, everybody's hustling to make their quarter. There is no longtermism left in media.

This comment by someone else is funny.

Noah Chestnut / @noahchestnut: Something something Google Reader Something something how many chat apps has Google shipped Something something Lucy and footballs

My /etc/hosts file on my Linux laptop contains over 80,000 entries. Social media sites, such as Twitter, are blocked. I only see tweets because they appear in the discussion sections for Mediagazer links.

Dave Winer had a tweet comment attached to that Mediagazer link:

@BuzzFeedBen @MediagazerChat @peretti This. Won't. End. Well.

Succinct. That's probably all that the WSJ story needed to say.

And allegedly, this Google idea will help local media orgs. I would never financially support nor trust a local media org that was even partly funded by Google or Facebook. But with the way that the media continues to blame others for its problems, maybe Big Tech should devour local media.

When the media orgs' business models are based upon giving away content for free, relying on ad pollution that could be nefarious, and relying on page views via referral traffic from silos, then it's not a surprise that media orgs struggle to survive.

Related story:

https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/archant-launches-website-in-google-backed-project-to-find-sustainable-local-news-model/

Jim Albrecht, product management director at Google, added: “Quality local journalism strengthens communities, supports an informed citizenry, and provides clarity and context for local officials. So it is critically important that we find sustainable approaches to the local news business.”

In my opinion, Google does not care about local journalism nor an informed citizenry. Google wants to dominate and control.

Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages in 2015 because Google saw an opening. So did Facebook, which is why Facebook introduced Instant Articles also in 2015.

Media orgs have created and still create some of the worst-designed websites in the world. Facebook offered Instant Articles and Google offered AMP as solutions to the media's bloated websites. Instant Articles did not catch on, but most media orgs support Google's bastardization of the web that's called AMP.

Supporting AMP is another moronic decision made by the media industry. What's shocking is that the media does not see the correlation between their horrendously designed websites and AMP's existence.

The media could create simple, USEFUL, lightweight websites that are as fast to load and maybe faster to load than AMP pages.

But Google's dominance means that a media's website designed slightly more enhanced than text.npr.org will not appear at the top of search results like AMP pages. Google somewhat engages in extortion, and the media comply.

Either accept Google's ruination of the open web, or your articles won't appear in the carousel, located at the top of search results, conducted on mobile devices. Since most web reading is now done with mobile devices, media orgs enslave themselves to Google's AMP.

It's quite a vicious circle. Google's web rendering engine is the most popular. Google pushes advanced web tech. Web publishers use the complex web tech even when it's unnecessary. Then the websites become slow-loading, bloated wastelands. Google creates AMP as a solution to the web publishers' clunky, slow websites. AMP uses a simplified set of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Uhhh, why didn't web publishers ignore the flashy, complicated tech and choose to create simple websites from the beginning that use HTML4, CSS2, and no JavaScript?

Regarding the vanishing local media landscape due to the closure or reduction of newspapers, this is another opening that Google will try to exploit for its benefit. I don't believe that Google creates any of these tech ideas for altruism.

More from the Google employee:

He added: “By bringing Google’s funding and product support together with Archant’s editorial expertise, we hope to test and validate new business and product approaches that we can then scale across the industry to more broadly support the future of local news.”

UK citizens are angry at art-related institutions for taking money from British Petroleum and other fossil fuel-based companies. Similar disdain should apply to a Google-supported local media. I would say that Google supporting local media is far worse than BP giving money to an art museum.

This part of the story is sad, but it's exactly the kind of indifferent consumer behavior that Google desires.

Emily Hewett, Archant’s head of audience, said there had been a “positive response from people who live and work in the city” to the new site.

From last September:

https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/google-to-give-archant-millions-to-find-way-to-make-local-news-pay-online

Google might be trying to buy favorable press coverage for its other activities. At times, media people and some politicians express a desire to have governments regulate Google.

Here's UK-related story that I also saw today at Mediagazer.

UK's The House of Lords launches an inquiry seeking information on how journalists can adapt to changing news media landscape and how media can be more trusted

https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/peers-launch-inquiry-into-future-of-journalism-in-uk-with-call-for-evidence

My suggestions:

Four things. Simple? To me, they're simple. But which suggestions are realistic or easiest for the media, such as the Toledo Blade, to implement?

None. At least none for an existing media company. A startup, built from scratch, could adopt the above concepts.

I would say that the website redesign is the only suggestion that's realistic for existing media orgs. But based upon the unfortunate "modern" web design trends in recent years, I don't expect anything positive to occur with media websites.

And it seems that media orgs, such as the Toledo Blade, are promoting their native mobile apps over their websites. The media contributes to the demise of the open web.

If the other three suggestions have zero percent chance of actually occurring, then the media website redesign has one percent chance.

Journalists will not end their addiction and unhealthy obsession with using Twitter, which is a machine for misinformation and hate.

Media orgs will not end their reliance on referral traffic from social media silos and search engines.

Media orgs and journalists love breaking news (sharing incorrect information).

How can a media org claim that its goal is to inform the citizenry when the media org engages in breaking news? Breaking news and being informed are an oxymoron.

... how journalists can adapt to changing news media landscape and how media can be more trusted ...

I see no improvement nor change in this area in the short-term, like over the next five years or so. Will our local newspaper https://toledoblade.com drastically change its business model and offer a humane web experience? Of course not. It's better, apparently, for the newspaper to fade away slowly than it is to make a worthwhile attempt at improving.

In my opinion, too much archaic 19th and 20th century thinking still exists in newspapers. Ads on websites for logged-in subscribers??? An editorial board that demands to interview local politicians??? An editorial board that writes opinions and makes political endorsements??? Still offering a print product???

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