After a recent entry in the neverending debate on the death of journalism and how to save newspapers, Metafilter user fightorflight took a page from an old antispam email forward (which in turn might well be based off of sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein’s solution to fan mail) and developed this standard response letter. A shortened version:
Check as many as apply:
Your [idea] advocates a( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) crowd-sourced
approach to saving journalism. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws owing to the avaraciousness of modern publishers.)( ) It does not provide an income stream to the working journalist ( ) Nobody will spend eight hours sitting in a dull council meeting to do it ( ) Users of the web will not put up with it ( ) Print readers will not put up with it ( ) Good journalists will not put up with it
Specifically, your plan fails to account for( ) The existence and popularity of the BBC ( ) The massive tedium of investigative journalism ( ) Editorial departments small enough to be profitable are too small to do real reporting ( ) Reluctance of governments and corporations to be held to account by two guys with a blog ( ) The tiny amounts of money to be made from online ads for small sites
and the following philosophical objections may also apply:( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical ( ) Society depends on journalists producing news that few readers are actually all that interested in, quite honestly ( ) Having a free online "printing press" doesn't turn you into a journalist any more than your laser printer did ( ) Citizen journalists are almost as good as citizen dentists ( ) You are Jeff Jarvis
Furthermore, this is what I think about you:( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work. ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it. ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
- posted by fightorflight on Metafilter