In the old print days, a publisher’s job was to size down the paper weight, cut down on the printing costs, bully the journalists through the editor – a kind of halfweight publisher himself, and go out on jollies all the time and get pissed as a fart, and of course, they were black tie does.
Now publishers’ jobs are to size down the internet costs, figure out how the print publications can possibly make money, and make sure the journalists get paid absolutely as little as possible as the interweb squeezes the multinationals more and more.
Let me give you an example. Reed Publishing used to value their editorial teams. A very senior journalist who we will not name now has the job description of Senior Data Gatherer. As if fantastic journalists are like coolies in the field – their job being to pick up bits of rice from the paddy and deliver them to the obermeisters.
Another example. There’s a certain very big publisher close to the heart of things in London which has totally demoralised its journalists. If the journalists break news, or have a bright idea, they are condemned for it. This is where worlds collide – where online journalism has finally cut the jugular to print publishing and shown them just where they are.
And then there are the publishers who, having got into cahoots with Google, believe that all there is in the universe is churn.
Thankfully, there is more to the universe than churn, even though, of course, the Sanskrit word samsara – which is not a perfume – means everything flowing together. Sort of a conjunction.
It is still possible to break stories, but the good news here is that benign publishers realise that. Malign publishers regard their journalists as data gatherers, or worse, not realising that a good journalist can destroy a business idea, through intelligence.
Now all these downtrodden data gatherers, working for these malign publishers, probably realise that the parradiggim has changed, but being wage slaves, they haven’t quite realised that the boot is on the other foot.
Publishers in the 21st century are now totally unnecessary, unless they can turn their rather useless hands to writing stories, rather than evoking bean counters to further reduce journalists’ wages.
The writing has been on the wall since 1995, but these dinosaur publishers haven’t yet got it. But they will, they will. And so will wage slave journalists, soon enough. Google churnalism is dead.