Thursday, April 21, 2005

What’s love got to do with it?

“Do readers love us?” asked the outbound leader of the nation’s newspaper publishers in his farewell speech to their annual convention. “Do they need us?”

The answers, in no particular order, are “no” and “no.”

But one good question deserves another. So, here’s one for Gregg K. Jones, the co-publisher of the Greeneville (TN) Sun and the former chairman of the Newspaper Association of America: “What’s love got to do with it?”

I don’t love Google, MarketWatch, Craig’s List or the text-messaging feature on my cellphone, but I am glad they are there when I need them.

I don’t love or need Boing-Boing, the Drudge Report, Dan Gillmor's blog, the AutoBlog podcast, the iTunes jukebox, Yahoo’s video search function or the 3,259 incarnations of the Law and Order TV show, but I am glad to have them for the information or amusement they deliver.

Apart from having perhaps a bit more than the average amount of time to spend perusing the media, I suspect I am like most people. I give my attention to the things that dependably enlighten, stimulate or amuse me. My loyalty, if any, lasts only as long as I like what I am getting.

"Our customers these days are a slippery bunch" Gregg Jones moaned to his colleagues. “They are harder to find and harder to hold on to.”

With all due respect, Gregg, the customers aren’t the ones to blame.


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