Memo to golf and new media: Carpe Diem!
Stop the presses!
No, really. Stop the presses.
Got a call from a friend at the Rocky Mountain News this weekend and heard the tale of another dying newspaper, only with a twist on that time-worn phrase shouted by a journalist breaking a huge story.
Layoffs, buyouts, cutbacks, For Sale signs … not really news if you’ve been following the news in any industry. But talk in Denver is that the Rocky Mountain News, founded in 1859, might simply shut down.
And Monday, the Tribune Co. (publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune) filed for bankruptcy. Oh, this little tidbit hit the wire, too: The New York Times has such debt overload that it plans to borrow against its shiny glass building in mid-Manhattan - which is akin to you or me taking out a home equity loan to pay the electric bill.
Stop the presses.
That’s where it’s headed folks, and if you still insist on walking to the end of your driveway every morning, don’t be shocked if there’s nothing there. Literally or figuratively.
You certainly won’t find much, if any, golf coverage (and that includes after Tiger Woods returns). GolfObserver.com’s Sal Johnson recently lamented the death of the golf beat writer. It’s sad (several are my friends and colleagues), but the reality was golf writers were a luxury and have been among the most expendable parts of a sports department for a long time. Hardly any of them covered golf exclusively, even in good times. If they did, or weren’t versatile enough to do anything else, they were headed for extinction, anyway.
Our John Daly at LasVegasGolf.com brushes several strong strokes across the larger picture. “Look at the travel industry,” he blogs. “Ask yourself this: on your last trip, who was the travel agent that booked your flight? For most of us, the travel agent was you. You went online and you booked the flight, chose the seat, and even printed your boarding pass.”
He continues: “But the death of the beat reporters - and the forced reality of all of us becoming citizen journalists for ourselves - is happening all over the media landscape.”
Gee, was it always really that clear?
Duh. Yes, it was.
Except that an incompetent generation of newspaper executives fiddled while their business model burned and the Internet age overwhelmed their product. Much like the so-called Masters of the Universe on Wall Street and the head auto honchos in Detroit, their ignorance and arrogance can’t be excused; their head-in-the-sand stupor bankrupted the Fourth Estate.
So stop the presses.
It’s time to re-brand and re-make and re-invent the media wheel. Ditto for sites like WorldGolf.com and any of us journalists who’ve already made the jump to the Internet. Golf, with it’s many sports, business and social aspects, presents a perfect opportunity to create a new model.
Those who embrace that concept - call them citizen, or e-journalists if you want - will continue to publish; those who fear such change or are slow to adjust will perish.
What old media tried to do was add depth and put events and information in context for you.
That’s a job we need to do for ourselves now.
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I think the most pertinent point made there is about the travel agent and how in this day and age we are relying more on the concept of ‘citizen journalism’. But it is a difficult thought to fathom. I really cannot imagine the day when there would be no newspapers. For years together we have heard of newspapers coming under threat because of the new media but for some reason there was always a reassuring feeling that calmed us down. But if newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times paint a gloomy picture then it would be fair to say we are in deep trouble! I guess in a way, bloggers like us are also part of the blame. People get ready made content so easily off the bat that the newspaper does become a little outdated in that respect.
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