Jeff Jarvis gives newspapers the harsh speech they need to hear

newspapers

Jay Rosen posted a link on Twitter today to a great post by Jeff Jarvis on Buzz Machine. In “The Speech the NNA Should Hear,” Jarvis holds nothing back as he delivers his fictional speech to the Newspaper Association of America. His basic message to newspaper heads: “You blew it.” Jarvis chides newspaper executives for failing to take any substantial actions to adapt to the changing media world.  He also strongly suggests that newspapers stop complaining and actually thank aggregators, bloggers and Facebook–as without them, newspapers would lose half of their traffic.  So much of what Jarvis says rings true, it’s scary.

Here are some of the highlights:

On most of your sites, only 20 percent of the audience in a day ever sees your homepage and its careful packaging; 4 of 5 readers instead come in through search and links. In the link economy – instead of the outmoded content economy in which you operate – Google and aggregators and bloggers are bringing value to you; they should be charging you for the value they bring. You should rise up today and give Mr. Schmidt a big thank you for not charging you. But you won’t, because you’ve refused to understand this new business reality.

The financial crisis only accelerated your fall. It didn’t cause the fall, it accelerated it. So now, for many of you, there isn’t time. It’s simply too late. The best thing some of you can do is get out of the way and make room for the next generation of net natives who understand this new economy and society and care about news and will reinvent it, building what comes after you from the ground up. There’s huge opportunity there, for them.

You blew it. You’ve had 20 years since the start of the web, 15 years since the creation of the commercial browser and craigslist, a decade since the birth of blogs and Google to understand the changes in the media economy and the new behaviors of the next generation of – as you call them, Mr. Murdoch – net natives. You’ve had all that time to reinvent your products, services, and organizations for this new world, to take advantage of new opportunities and efficiencies, to retrain not only your staff but your readers and advertisers, to use the power of your megaphones while you still had it to build what would come next. But you didn’t. You blew it.

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