I hadn’t planned it this way when I started working on the new video late last week, but the timing of Monday’s news of fresh disaster from old media makes the latest Silicon Graffiti remarkably timely.
But first, let’s define the title.
From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass:
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Back in early 2007, I started wondering if the accelerating decline of print newspaper readership, media advertising revenues, and the upcoming election year were creating a strange new tone in the media. And near the tail-end of an election year in which the media weren’t afraid to let you know who to vote for–and who they were voting for–Michael Malone of ABC and Pajamas Media wrote:
Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power . . . only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, ten years hence, of retirement and a pension.
In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway – all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.
And then the opportunity presents itself: an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career. With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.
And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country . . .
So here’s a look at how the media got there, beginning in sepia toned 1926 when mass media was born with the first radio networks, all the way to the days of the Web, the Blogosphere, and the surprising impact Craigslist has had on classified advertising revenue–and a look at declining newspaper advertising in general.
This accelerating downward spiral has completed unnerved much of old media–to the point where a newspaper in a city once known 160 years ago for its residents’ spectacular success at mining for gold completely overlooked the solid gold story dropped into their laps, helping to create a remarkably holographic presidential candidate.