Beyond the Horizon


For your consideration:

This has been said in various ways by folks infinitely smarter and more eloquent, yet a short version might be …

People/Leaders/industries who create a problem or allow one to persist will NOT be capable of creating solution (s)!

Think about that for a second …

… pause

… consider

… reflect.

For as long as I’ve been a partner to the media world (go ahead, guess!) it’s always seemed like there was a just smidgeon of reluctance or unwillingness to really embrace the partners who have supported the industry for decades.  We vendors (what an awful word!) – purveyors of services, resources or equipment who can theoretically be replaced by a lower-cost provider at any time! – have not been genuinely embraced as a part of the family!

No doubt I’ll get plenty of pushback (go ahead, I can take it!) on this heretical notion, but I’m confident it is a common feeling.

  • A newsprint partner was (or is) often a good friend in addition to being a partner.   Many will recall the days this meant lavish events, trips and oodles of perks.  But, just about every publisher had (or has) more than one newsprint partner, right?  Just in case!
  • Your CMS or CRM ranges from superb to just adequate, but you mostly maintained the status quo till a much better “offer” came along or the new corporate overlords told you otherwise.   Inevitably that meant a termination email which said, “…we’ve decided to go in a different direction.  Thanks so much!”
  • There are often times when a newspaper or organization decided to build it themselves*, whatever “it” that might be.  This actually hampers any industry-wide salvation effort since the real “competition” is external and not other newspapers.  We should be seeking standardized platforms.
  • Association memberships provide benefits (both tangible and intangible) until consolidation occurs and your new private equity owners “know better” and prohibit membership.  One more connection to “local” governmental bodies down the drain!
  • The list goes on – you know it better than I!

Where are these “tell me something I don’t know” observations going?

Simply to the inescapable conclusion that if media organizations don't fully embrace their partners – not “vendors” - and believe (and act) in your independent or chainwide hearts-and-souls that we are all in this together, our days are certainly n-u-m-b-e-r-e-d.

Newspaper operators need the independent eyes, technology*, speed, and, in some cases, financial muscle to innovate and become NEWSpapers 3.0.  I would humbly submit, if that doesn’t happen soon, our proverbial goose is beyond cooked. 

I sure as hell don’t want to see that happen.

A truly innovative and sustainable LONG-TERM solution that’ll right the financial ship that is NEWSpaper (regrettably, this also applies to other legacy media, as well) WILL NOT COME from within the industry.  I hate typing that, saying it, reading it, or even thinking it, but it’s TRUE.

[reread the previous paragraph]

Each of us reads and encounters almost daily proof of this reality.  Think RIFs, think disappointing quarterly calls, the brain-drain of the last decade, and perhaps most damnably, the glacial pace of decision making.  OMfrigginG!

We need each other.  Desperately.  More than ever.  Let’s act like it and figure this out.

Our communities and DEMOCRACY need everything that NEWSpapers and journalism can provide, it’s just that NEWSpapers must collaborate fiercely and aggressively with each other and all their partners to succeed!

So, it is written; so, let it be done!

P.S.  * You’ve noted an asterisk every time newspapers as technology providers or solutions are mentioned simply to emphasize that while there is an exception or two, newspapers will never be the ideal tech solution

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