News Without the Mad Men
How a News Market Can Fix the News Industry's Broken Business Model

Craig A. Will

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Tenaya Creek Press
I ISBN 978-09962281-2-1 (Ebook)

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The news industry—and all of us who depend upon it for reliable information—has a problem. People are not reading print newspapers much anymore. And advertising revenue—traditionally supplying 80% of the income of newspapers—is way down, by one estimate nearly three-fourths from its peak in 2005. Newsroom employment is down from the peak of 56,900 in 1989 to 32,900 in 2014. And the layoffs continue. Efforts to get income from digital advertising have been difficult. The basic digital advertising model is widely acknowledged to be broken. Newspaper web sites have had difficulty getting more than about $3 billion of revenue from digital advertising, far less than the $48.4 billion they got from print advertising in 2005. Meanwhile, Google and Facebook have wildly overtaken them, with Google's revenue upwards of $70 billion and Facebook closing in on $20 billion. (About 85 cents of every dollar of new digital advertising now goes to either Google or Facebook.) The news industry is thus in a slow-motion crash. Younger readers are not much interested in print, and thus as older readers disappear revenue will continue to drop. It is only a matter of time until most newspapers shutter their print edition. The new news media won't much help. Some survive by aggregation—rewriting stories from newspaper web sites, where a story can be produced in an hour or two from a story that took the original news reporter a few days or a few weeks of work. Other sites chase low-quality reporting, depending upon huge numbers of traffic and low-paying ads. It's not clear whether these sites, still largely supported by infusions of venture capital, will survive, even at the low quality they provide. Many alternative ways of funding have been tried. Paywalls seem to work only for the largest newspapers—The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times. The current fad of "native advertising" has been adopted by many as a more-effective form of display advertising, but it seems destined for failure as consumers wake up to its deceptive practices and as regulators realize how it actually works. Micropayments may have a small role. But there is no overall solution for the slow motion crisis in the news industry, particularly for local news providers and especially those in flyover country. Increasingly, users are installing software that blocks advertising. In this book, author Craig Will goes through the evidence for what is happening to the news industry. He concludes that the only solution is a radically different business model for news that he calls the News Market. The approach works for both the digital versions of legacy newspapers and new media, and does two things. First, it provides a sustainable means of financial support. And second, it does so in a way that encourages news of high quality. The news media has been obsessed since it has started to shrink with finding a business model that can do this. The News Market solves this problem, and will allow news publishers, new and old--to put their energy into solving the myriad of other problems facing the news industry today, rather than continued fruitless seeking of a business model. The book News Without the Mad Men presents a detailed discussion of why the current approaches to funding news today and those such as paywlls, micropayments, and native advertising will not work, and why adblocker software will make the problem worse. The book also presents details of how the News Market solution will work, and how it might also be applied to news for television and radio, as the Internet begins to disrupt these industries, and how the News Market can particularly work to improve the quality of local and cable television news. At the same time, he provides a state-of-the-art assessment of current technology and future possibilities as the Internet completes its disruption of print news, television and radio.
The book consists of twenty chapters and an appendix, as follows:

Preface

Introduction

1. Why Do We Need Quality News?

2. How Advertising Grew (into a Monster)

3. Searching for A Business Model

4. Native Advertising

5. The Threat of Ad Blockers

6. The News Market

7. Evaluating News for Quality

8. Controlling for Ideology and Insuring Integrity

9. Organization

10. Financials

11. A Pilot Study

12. A News Market Created State-by-State

13. Advertising Today

14. Advertising Based on Emotion, the Unconscious, and Neuroscience

15. Television

16. Radio

17. Software Agents

18. Unresolved Issues

19. Objections to the News Market

20. Conclusion

Appendix: Legislation to Create a News Market

Endnotes






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