There is more at stake in the answer than the fortunes of our two online overlords. It will also help determine the fate of the rest of the digital media. And that, in turn, will affect whether cities like this one will be able to maintain a vibrant free press that keeps government honest and voters informed.
So, yeah, America’s Advertisers, I’m talking about democracy, and your role in it. News flash: You have one. Let me explain.
We are still very much in the midst of a fascinating, often exciting but sometimes scary digital transformation in which advertising dollars are moving to Google and Facebook in a hurry.
But as those dollars are moving toward Google and Facebook, they are often moving away from quality news and information providers, starving them of the direct digital revenue they need to pay for fact-based news gathering. Real news costs real money; fake news comes cheap.
So you have best-of-times-worst-of-times weeks like the one that just passed. Facebook announced yet another better-than-expected quarter of earnings, just as Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, had a few days before.
At the same time, word seeped out about layoffs at local Gannett-owned papers including The Independent Mail of Anderson County, S.C., and The Sun-News of Las Cruces, N.M. The McClatchy-owned Tribune of San Luis Obispo, Calif., also confirmed layoffs, The New Times reported.
Here in Philadelphia, reporters at The Inquirer and The Daily News got an email with instructions on how to go about reapplying for jobs in a reorganized newsroom, the latest chapter in their corporate parent’s mad dash to retool the papers for survival in a world dominated by Google and Facebook.
It’s just the latest bit of upheaval in their joint operation, which is now combined into a single newsroom after The Daily News vacated…