Two weeks ago I wrote about the desperation of The Guardian to post this statement at the bottom of all its articles. It has now started to further highlight its desperation and do the very thing that ensures it will drive itself out of business. It not only smacks of despair but the audience it appeals (often of the left) to are often those who believe in others paying. The irony of this statement is that it is missing the golden rule of good journalism. If an audience “values” the quality its articles they’ll pay up for “the value” in the content. Keeping journalism as “open as we can” but asking for people for charity to keep it “secure” shows it has the cart before the horse. If The Guardian wrote articles which drew in paying customers encouraging them to open their wallets. It is stuck in the mindset of not willing to reflect that maybe its journalism is the problem.
Exactly one year ago Fairfax, owners of the Sydney Morning Herald (gives 10 free articles a day), cut back 100-120 journalists/other staff who suffered the same problem. They striked protesting corporate greed when it was the lack of journalistic quality that got them to a position where a company answering to shareholders had to act as a business not a charity for journalists to espouse their prejudices which were clearly having a markedly shrinking effect on readers. It seems in 2017 the SMH hasn’t learnt. On Jan 30th, its home page listed the following articles about Trump. All 20 of its main stories were about him. Not a shred of balance to be seen. Was global and national news so thin that they needed a filler?
Look at TV ratings. Yes The Guardian and others must hate Fox News/Newscorp. They can hurl abuse about the political beliefs and views of the audience but look at the scoreboard.
In Monday-Friday primetime, Fox leads the way with 3.83 million viewers, compared to CNN’s 1.83 million and MSNBC’s 1.65 million. For Total Day, Fox is on top with 1.97 million, followed by CNN’s 993,000 and MSNBC’s 736,000. Daytime viewership is also dominated by Fox as it pulled in 2.09 million. Could it be that the pay-per-view crowd, for whatever warped reason, are prepared to pay to watch Fox more than CNN or MSNBC? Could it be when those networks are so desperate for ratings that they overinflate the impact of a boring tax return as the scoop of all-time which in fact backfired in such spectacular fashion that it exposed exactly why they trail in the ratings as they do. Such is the lack of introspection of journalists like Rachel Maddow that even her fellow lefties turned on her for damaging their cause.
The formula is simple – write/produce what the audience WANTS to read/watch and they will beat a path to your door. Tell your audience that you know more than they do with regards to what they want to consume and you will beg cap in hand like you’re doing now. At least we can say The Guardian has put a price on their journalism. It is worth less than a cup of coffee a week apparently. I sincerely hope it was a Venti special Frappicino with a double shot rather than a Small size cup of coffee of the day.
Perhaps John D. Rockefeller said it best –
“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”