Jeff Jarvis is hardly crying over collapsing business models for newspapers and broadcasters. In fact, he’s kneeling down beside the media moguls’ battered bodies and whispering in their blood-spattered ears: “you idiots should’ve seen this beat-down coming years ago–and you could’ve prevented it!”
Jarvis’ message to the Newspaper Association of America is simple, and very, very tough love:
“You blew it.
You’ve had 20 years since the start of the web, 15 years since the creation of the commercial browser and craigslist, a decade since the birth of blogs and Google to understand the changes in the media economy and the new behaviors of the next generation of – as you call them, Mr. Murdoch – net natives. You’ve had all that time to reinvent your products, services, and organizations for this new world, to take advantage of new opportunities and efficiencies, to retrain not only your staff but your readers and advertisers, to use the power of your megaphones while you still had it to build what would come next. But you didn’t.
You blew it. “
Jarvis, writing on his BuzzMachine blog, takes is a step further. The people who should be angry aren’t the media bosses who sat on their rear ends in the face of an oncoming digital tidal wave and culture shift, but the news consumer, who got served the same stuff, year after year by companies who now argue that Google’s the bad guy, and journalists (and newspapers and television newsrooms) have to go to save journalism, if you can follow that logic.
“And now you’re angry. Well, gentlemen – and that’s pretty much all I see before me: angry, old, white men – you have no right to anger. Instead, you are the proper objects of anger. The public should be angry with you for the poor stewardship you have exercised over the press and its service to society. Your journalists are angry at you for losing their jobs. Your pressmen and drivers and classified-ad takers are angry at you for the same reason (and at the journalists for paying attention only to their own plight). Your advertisers were angry at you for using your monopolistic power to overcharge them and for providing inefficient platforms and bad service for so long. But they’re not angry anymore because they left you for better advertising vehicles and better prices in a competitive marketplace.
But you’re the ones who are acting angry. “
It’s hot stuff, and I imagine it’ll get a lot of attention among forward-thinking journalists this week, as more jobs teeter on the edge of extinction, and more journalists working for old media companies tell polsters they have fully lost confidence in the people running their companies.
So Mr. Murdoch, whatcha got to say to old Jarvis here?