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<i>Fortune</i>'s Stanley Bing

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Dead Media? Not So Fast, Bub

Posted: 08/24/2009 10:55 am

Has it ever occurred to you that everything you read on the Internet about the future of the media is written by people who are writing on the Internet about the future of the media? They say that history is written by the winners. Sometimes it's rewritten by the winners. And at this point, it's quite possible it's being pre-written by guys who have way too much skin in the game.

Likewise, has it ever occurred to you that a lot of what you read about the death of newspapers is written by people who were recently fired from their jobs at newspapers? Does this seem fair to you?

I flew with this friend of mine the other day. He's a big Internet nabob. He certainly knows what's going on in that space, and I bow to his wisdom on just about any related subject. But without too much prompting he declared that magazines were dead. That caught me up short. Then I thought, hold on a minute. I'm sure he believes what he's saying, but he's in direct competition with a bunch of magazines that are trying to hold up their own piece of their sector, and most of his staff used to work in magazines and now, you know, don't anymore.

So I thought, okay, magazines are in pretty tough shape all right. But dead? You go to an airport and all you see is magazines. Even the books look like magazines. There are at least seven separate magazines still interested in Jon and Kate. A bunch more seem to be about boats and cameras and computers and sex. I generally buy one about cars. Dead? Magazines? Who says so? The Internet.

I'm going to keep on believing in most of what I read, of course. Except for one specific area: I'm not interested in anybody who says anything that I like is dead. Liquor. Meat. Books, magazines and newspapers. Personal computers that do not depend upon the cloud. I'm not going to consider anything dead until I'm no longer interested in it, and I'm going to watch out for emotional conflicts of interest on the whole subject.


 

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