Dear Globe & Mail,
I really like you. I don’t have a subscription to you because I’m normally too busy to read you every day, but I often buy a copy of you from the newstand in my building because it is simply easier (and more environmentally friendly) to share you with my coworkers, or to simply read you online. As I’ve written before, one of my favorite Saturday activities is to buy your weekend edition and read through it over a coffee.
Despite what everyone says, you also seem to be pretty popular with the fickle blogging crowd. I mean, as of today you had a almost 60,000 blog reactions on Technorati, and over 200,000 inbound links according to Google blog search. You’re still a primary source of information for these people.
If the recent debacle of CNN erroneously reporting that Steve Jobs was in poor health is anything to go by, citizen journalism is as flawed as Andrew Keen says it is. As a traditional media force, people still respect you.
But then you go and do something like trying to charge me $4.95 for a newspaper article that I’ve already paid for and read, and this hurts me (telling me that this content will only be available for 30 days only adds insult to injury).
Your greatest asset is the thousands and thousands of pages of information and news stories that you have in your archives. People want to view this content, and just as they have endured advertising in your print publications, they’ll endure the same kind of advertising on your website.
I understand your thinking when it comes to locking up this content behind a pay wall: it is valuable information, so people will pay to see it.
The problem is, you are only half-right. It is valuable information, but only when it is easy to access. In the age of Google, people will quickly move on and find the information elsewhere, somewhere where it easier to get at.
I know that you have a lot of people working for you (like Christie Blatchford) who don’t understand very much about computers, the state of media today or even life in the 21st century. But that doesn’t mean you have to end up as a failure. It just means that you have to pay attention to the people that want to help you.
Change your ways, Globe & Mail. or we’re through, and it won’t be because I’ll stop reading you. It will be because everyone stops reading you, and you’ll cease to exist.
PS: You should probably forward this letter to some of your other traditional media friends. I know that they are going through some tough times as well.
18 Responses to “Dear Globe & Mail, (a letter to the newspaper industry)”
Leave a Reply
Additional comments powered by BackType