One thought on “No kidding

  1. When I went to J-school near Chicago in the mid-1970s, we learned the dogma about “the product.” The product was not the magazine. (That soft-headed thinking is what the silly flower children on the editorial side think.) No, the product was the eyeballs you collect with it. The product was the “quality” of the audience you delivered to the advertisers. That’s why there was an Audit Bureau of Circulation: It was there to validate your statement, as a publisher, so that your advertisers knew that your circulation figures were real. We were told that we did not want low-demographic readers. They couldn’t buy enough of the goods marketed by our advertisers. (Did I say “advertisers”? Silly me, I meant “business partners.”) No, we were told to go forth and collect the eyeballs of the 18-to-35-year-olds that had high, disposable incomes and lived in the “right” zip codes.

    The whole for-profit system is corrupt. The bullshit was so deep that I left the field after a few years. The only business models that truely serve readers are the co-op (e.g. the Guardian), and the publicly owned utility (e.g. the BBC). Otherwise, what you get is claptrap like The Daily Beast, which has headlines like “Forget the Dead Jews… the Real Holocaust is Reese Witherspoon’s Shoes!”

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