Here’s the Church. Where the Hell is the Steeple?-Part 1

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


(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.)

5 comments on “Here’s the Church. Where the Hell is the Steeple?-Part 1”

  1. […] today to discuss the destruction of the economic model for journalism.  It’s titled, “Here’s the Church.  Where the Hell is the Steeple”.  Also, at the bottom of that post is a photo of what the fallen steeple looks like after the […]

  2. Although we need to make money to feed, house and clothe ourselves, I suspect that many people make the mistake of the thinking that money equals success and validation. Sure, it means financial success but it doesn’t equal quality.

    There are plenty of popular things that are making loads of money but are low quality. MacDonald’s for instance; they make the best selling hamburger in the world but it certainly doesn’t make them the best.

    As for making money from a blog, if you want to make a killing, just write about how to make money. Someone once said that the best way to make money during a gold rush, is to sell shovels to the miners. I’m willing to bet that the top income producing blogs are all about how to become rich and they are basically selling proverbial shovels.

    I’m looking forward to you continuing on with your artist endeavours. Just keep chipping away and I’m sure you’ll have an exhibition and this blog will help you develop an audience and give you a reason and an outlet for your creativity. It make not make you rich in money, but it will make you rich in the things that really count in a cosmic sense.

  3. Oops!

    I meant to say:
    It MAY not make you rich in money, but it will make you rich in the things that really count in a cosmic sense.

  4. No, Razz! You got it right the first time. From your lips to…Seriously, I know if nothing else happened, EVER, the benefits of writing this and photographing for this medium has been a blessing. But, since the world collapsed in on my retirement funds last year, I’ve been looking at blessings in a slightly jaded way. Forgive me, father, for my impure capitalistic thoughts! But, I’ve got ’em and I’m gonna figure out how to get me some fine sausages one day and a freakin’ Weber Kettle! (And a few new lenses, of course!)

  5. […] this regular programming ( Part 11 of “Goodbye, Everything” and Part 11 of “Here’s the Church…Now, where n’hell is the Steeple?“) to bring you late breaking news:  I have found another reason I am […]

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