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A Sisyphean Task: On The Myth of the Death of Newspapers

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Cover of Greatly ExaggeratedThings that are eas­i­er to do than burst­ing The Myth of the Death of News­pa­pers include con­vinc­ing peo­ple there’s a brew­ery in City Hall, afford­ing a house in Van­cou­ver, and win­ning the Stan­ley Cup. But that’s exact­ly what Marc Edge attempts to do, as well as sketch a his­to­ry of news­pa­pers and their own­ers’ recent efforts at “finan­cial­iza­tion,” in the heav­i­ly researched and high­ly read­able Great­ly Exag­ger­at­ed: The Myth of the Death of News­pa­pers. And he’s mak­ing some head­way:

An ear­ly review from Char­lie Smith at the Geor­gia Straight called it “thor­ough­ly researched,” “provoca­tive,” and “enter­tain­ing,” and said “For any­one con­cerned about where [the con­cen­tra­tion of media own­er­ship] might lead, Great­ly Exag­ger­at­ed offers a use­ful road map.” (Full review here.)

Marc made a few media appear­ances, includ­ing a TV spot on BC 1 that, some­what implau­si­bly, isn’t online (did it real­ly hap­pen?); an inter­view with Joseph Plan­ta at The Com­men­tary; a call-in seg­ment on CBC Radio Van­cou­ver (auto-play­ing audio link here); and an inter­view with World News Pub­lish­ing Focus.

Scott R. Maier picked up the sto­ry via Marc’s aca­d­e­m­ic paper based on the same research (“News­pa­pers’ Annu­al Reports Show Chains Prof­itable,” in News­pa­per Research Jour­nal, Vol. 35, No. 4), and ran with it at the Euro­pean Jour­nal­ism Obser­va­to­ry (always so much more enlight­ened, those Euro­peans…).

And final­ly, Rick Edmonds came away from the annu­al News­pa­per Asso­ci­a­tion of America’s Medi­aX­change con­fer­ence with the belief, par­tial­ly inspired by Marc’s study, that although the indus­try has “a lot of work to do,” it’s “not any­where near dead as doom­say­ers had pre­dict­ed five years ago”: At Naa’s Nashville extrav­a­gan­za, tough issues sur­face through the glitz | Poynter.org.

So at least some wonks seem cau­tious­ly hereti­cal. You can flirt with these blas­phe­mous ideas in print, or buy the ebook, or use the print book to get a free ebook via the BitLit mobile app. (Irony duly not­ed.)