Newspapers are Suicidal

The only time I’ve ever been fired was from a Milestone’s in Vancouver, sometime around 1998. It was not a pleasant day, a day made worse by the fact that upon returning home unexpectedly and unemployed, I discovered my partner and my roommate had been having an affair. Losing a job and a lover in the same morning is humbling, and yet the two have striking parallels. Both, one could argue, are essential to living. Both are gratifying, in their own ways. Both provide you with money. I’m often hesitant to introduce both entities to my parents. But I can empathize with anyone who has lost either, though they are learning moments. I learned that you shouldn’t work for an organization that has their own glossary, or more than 20 employees. I also learned that when your girlfriend spends late nights with your roommate, it’s not because she digs his Captain Beefheart LPs. Earlier this week, a large contingent of Postmedia staffers lost their jobs in what is a sign of the times for the newspaper industry. But, unlike my ability to learn from heartbreak and loss of a $8-an-hour cooking gig, has the newspaper industry learned anything from its losses? I think not.

Newspapers have been dying for some time. Content is free online, and not just theirs. There is a near infinite supply of news and opinion available. It’s part of the reason you’re reading this, and not some other chump’s ramblings. Newspapers had a monopoly on printed news and opinion for, well, forever, and now they are feeling the effects of not adequately preparing for a shifting marketplace. They failed to adapt to a rapidly changing industry, whether by flaw of ego or a lack of understanding. How anyone could watch and not learn as technology nearly destroyed, and then reinvented the music industry is beyond me, but I’m of a different generation than those running newspapers and those who continue to pay to read them. And therein lies the problem. The newspaper industry is built around a demographic that no longer dictates the mode by which we consume. The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and the rest of Canada’s papers are written and edited by, and marketed and subservient to Boomers and beyond, while the generations that follow are rapidly reinventing our methods of news consumption.

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