Thinking about the News Business (again)

Today, I had the privilege of meeting with the CU SJMC Advisory Board to listen to their thoughts about journalism education.

More thoughts to come on that later.

During the session, the group was allowed to interact with Chris Matthews of MSNBC Hardball fame, through Skype.

Matthews spoke at length about the concerns of cable news personalities concerning the plight of newspapers. Acknowledging that newspapers bear the brunt of the reportage costs and efforts, Matthews suggested that his program “relies almost entirely on daily newspapers.”

Matthews also bemoaned the effects of Google on the news business, colorfully characterizing the company as “like an old guy, wandering around collecting bottles … the worst part is that Google didn’t even make the bottles, much less the coke in them.”

An amusing simile that will be with me for a while, I’m sure.

Former Rocky Mountain News Editor/Publisher/President John Temple was the guest speaker for the lunch session. Temple echoed some of his thoughts about journalism education that had appeared on his blog, and then discussed how he saw the newspaper industry’s challenges.

Citing a lack of innovation and a lack of the evolution of the print offerings, Temple portrayed newspaper publishers as being in the “manufacturing business,” and suggested that the daily grind of the production and distribution process discourages publishers from taking risks in favor of “keep[ing] the machine running.”

Key quote: “Instead of the owners changing the business, the business changed the owners.”

Temple also expanded on these thoughts on in a new blog entry.