Wednesday, May 21, 2008

FRONTLINE: news war | PBS
I just caught the last half of part 3 of this 4 part series last night on PBS and in general it was an interesting look at how we get our news and the continued importance of newspapers to that end. They talked about the LA Times and how it is under pressure to cut costs on a constant basis and they came across this little tidbit that hit me: right now, the LA Times makes a 20% return on costs. TWENTY PERCENT! That is jaw-dropping amazing. And for a minute, the Frontline reporter asks "Well why is the paper under so much pressure then?" The suits tell him why, which is because "investors" demand growth not profits, basically. And then they all moved on! THAT is the story! Profitable businesses are no longer desirable. Isn't that obscene? Everything needs to be bled dry to satisfy someone's insatiable greed. This is the problem with American capitalism today: it is controlled by Wall Street. The tail is wagging the dog and has been for some 40 years.

Anyway they went back to the program and went on talking about how expensive it is to run a paper and how expensive it is to have foreign correspondents and how the LA Times needs to focus on what readers want to read, etc. But the readers HAVE spoken. They DO buy the paper. The paper MAKES MONEY. A LOT of money. What the LA Times are doing is right, smart, perfect. It's the people who want to make money off of the movement of money who are destroying newspapers.

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