Repost-From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”

Full article here. (Once archived, it won’t be (F)ree)

Gladwell argues that “Free” is a kind of utopian vision, or at least as it appears in Chris Anderson’s new book:  “Free:  The Future of a Radical Price”   What’s being overlooked is the cost of actually gathering news and information, and the infrastructure required to do so:

“This is the kind of error that technological utopians make. They assume that their particular scientific revolution will wipe away all traces of its predecessors—that if you change the fuel you change the whole system.”

Yet, aside from this utopianism, should we go so far as to have the law step in…protecting news-gathering organizations to some degree?

Gladwell finishes with:

“The only iron law here is the one too obvious to write a book about, which is that the digital age has so transformed the ways in which things are made and sold that there are no iron laws”

It’s still up in the air.

See Also:  Walter Isaacson’s piece in Time a while back:  “How To Save Your Newspaper,” that is, if it isn’t already a shell of it’s former self.

A Few Thoughts On Blogging-Chris Anderson At Wired: ‘The Long Tail’

From The Economist: ‘No News Isn’t Good News’Jack Shafer At Slate: ‘Nonprofit Journalism Comes At A Cost’..

See Also On This Site: Posner makes the case for some legal copyright intervention: From The Becker-Posner Blog: The Future Of Newspapers

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Via Sound Politics: Why Did The PI Die? From Slate: Jack Shafer On The Pulitzer Prize-Who Cares?  Who Reads The Newspapers? The Newseum Opens On The Mall: More From The Weekly Standard


3 thoughts on “Repost-From The New Yorker: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Priced To Sell”

  1. This may be a tad harsh but I think the mainstream media deserve what they get. I obtain most of the interesting news from the blogosphere and have forgotten when I last read a really good piece of investigative journalism in the mainstream press. Maybe the solution is to get rid of most of the regulatory bodies like the FDA and employ investigative journalists to take up the slack as watchdogs, protecting the consumer from unscrupulous business practices.

  2. Malcolm, thanks.

    I pretty much agree with that, it’s hard to find sympathy for the msm, as they haven’t figured out how to fund watchdogging and investigative journalism, and look like flailing sycophants

    Where it comes from I don’t care so much, but it takes time and money. The new models don’t know how to fund it yet, so it will have to come from somewhere.

    The best kind of journalist will be a little more protected from political and other forms of retribution, and have some financial and professional incentive tied with longer form and accurate, investigative journalism, when his newsroom or other journalists provide some mild stability and protection from criminals and those who don’t want truth coming out.

    At its best, it can be risky, dangerous, and journalists are like bulldogs.

    It will take the interest of more than just a few.

  3. My opinion has changed over time towards more sympathy for journalism. Politics is horse-trading, and a necessary evil. It’s overextended like much else right now, and undergoing serious recalibration. Journalism is likely necessary to keep those politicians as honest as possible, and less able to blow the smoke of their own message and to send them the right message and the right incentives.

    Not the most noble, or highest calling, but probably a necessary one.

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