Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's behind the newspaper naysayers

Randy Siegel writes:

Another prominent newspaper pundit with questionable motives is the ubiquitous Jeff Jarvis, a former magazine editor and newspaper executive who has built a lucrative cottage industry for himself as a quote-machine, author, blogger, speaker, and new-media consultant specializing in one primary area of pontification: the imminent death of newspapers and the rise of a new world order dominated by his favorite company, Google, the fawning subject of his most recent book, What Would Google Do? In fact, if you Google “Jeff Jarvis and the death of newspapers,” 74,000 articles and references pop right up.

If any journalist on deadline needs a quote about the imminent death of newspapers, Jarvis will serve one up in a hurry. His BuzzMachine blog features columns such as “Newspapers are f***ed” and “Hitting the coffin nail on the head for newspapers.”

I’ve met Jarvis and found him engaging, but it’s disappointing how often he is quoted by other journalists as a “newspaper-industry analyst” or “media critic” without any mention of his bias or his consulting work for new-media companies, including Daylife, a popular aggregator of other people’s proprietary journalism for websites that can’t afford to pay for their own content. While Jarvis’ business success is clearly a result of his hard work and entrepreneurial zeal, his crusade against newspapers needs to be looked at in the proper context: The more newspaper companies struggle, the better Jarvis does on a number of levels.

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