Here’s the Church. Where the Hell is the Steeple?-Part 1
Tags: "Free: The Future of a Radical Price", Ariana Huffington, Chris Anderson, Editor, Erma Bombeck Conference, Free Stuff, James Moroney, Journalism, Kindle DX, Malcom Gladwell, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, The Business of Blogs, The Dallas Daily News, The future of journalism, The Huffington Post, The Kindle, The New Yorker, Wired Magazine
|Camera:||Canon EOS 5D|
Remember that game we play with small children?
Here’s the church. (Hands folded)
Here’s the steeple. (Two index fingers raised)
Open the door. (Turn your hand over)
And, here’s the people! (Wiggle your fingers,)
A church about a mile from my house lost its wooden steeple and it’s metal weather-vane last week to lightning and an ensuing fire. I thought of that childhood game as I photographed it several mornings later, but I was thinking my bi-monthly “deep thoughts”– this time, about the analogy of this steeple destruction to the destruction of the economic model for journalism.
(Yeh, I’m a fun date, too.)
This subject is being discussed in May, 2009 Congressional hearings, writer’s conferences, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the recent New Yorker magazine, a book review by Malcom Gladwell, of a new book by the Publisher of “Wired”. The book review is titled, “Priced to Sell, Is Free the Future”. The contested book is titled, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”by Chris Anderson.
I attended a humor writer’s conference a year ago in April in Dayton, Ohio, (The Erma Bombeck Writer’s Conference) and wrote a post on the way home on the plane. It was the second post of this blog, called, “I am the Fog”. The “fog” was the confusion and fear that one sensed at this conference that surrounded writers.
Very talented writers spoke of losing their columns and being laid off by their newspapers or even told they could continue to write but it would have to be for free.
“Free,” one veteran writer railed. “Never ever do that,” he said, with many heads nodding vigorously around him just before he excused himself to go and try to sell some of his self-published humor books.
Fast forward, a year later, May 2009, Amazon announced a beta format for bloggers to “sell” their blog through the Kindle DX, the newest version of the popular electronic reader. The pricing is in the same range as a song from ITUNES: 99 cents TO $1.99. It can be downloaded to your Kindle device as well as to your IPHONE.
It got my attention. I Googled it, of course, and read a few articles.
I emailed a respected business consultant to ask his opinion and his response suggested irritation that I’d even ask him: “I’m not interested in being immersed with a million no-talents hawking things in the Kindle Universe.”
Ouch. Arrogant, yes–but he says his business and his “brand” as he calls it, is what attracts people. People come to him. So, good for him and god bless.
The rest of us, however, (I prefer to call us the “no-brands-yet” crowd) are wondering how to use digital technology to make us better writers, better artists, and for the love of capitalism, make a better living at the same time.
Ariana Huffington told the Congressional Committee that the Kindle might be an answer to the newspaper industry’s current fiscal crisis. The editor of the Dallas Daily News, Jim Moroney, disagreed strongly. He cited the price ratio offered to the Dallas Daily News by Amazon to be published on Kindle: 30 % to the author of the blog/news site and 70% to Amazon, along with consenting to allow Amazon to publish his material on any device in the future. This most decidedly “did not constitute a business model,” according to Mr. Moroney.
Apparently, Amazon offers the same deal to talents and no-talents because that’s the same deal I’d have to agree to if I chose to publish my blog on Kindle.
Gulp. Yeow. I think it’s the future rights that is yeowing me the most.
So, in this Part One, I’m just putting it out there.
What do you think? Have you heard about this?
How do we rebuild this journalistic steeple?
I’d like to hear your thoughts EXCEPT if somehow even posing this question insults you. Then, kindly just keep your thoughts to yourself would you?
At my age, one dickhead a week is my quota.
©Pat Coakley 2009
PHOTOGRAPHY CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION
(If you want to see what happened to this church’s steeple, click on the first thumbnail. Thanks to darlin’ Andy for his advice on how to add another photograph to this template! I’ve been using it for over a year and couldn’t figure it out. He uses it for three days and voila..master of the universe.)