And, have publishers lost sight of it?
Can Jeff Bezos, who just bought The Washington Post, eighty years owned by one of America’s great publishing dynasties: the Graham family, redefine the newspaper publishing business and reintroduce the true publishing product?
Given his success in redefining the book selling and publishing arena — I would lay odds on his success.
The Graham family ran the paper with dignity, grace and a commitment to public service — but, time had passed them by.
In the past newspaper world they always kept the business side of the biz separate from the editorial side; this served the industry well, insulating journalists from pressures that would undermine their objectivity — But, as financial pressures came to the fore and the cult of shareholder value took hold—a notion increasingly becoming known as the dumbest idea in the world—publishers lost sight of the true purpose of the industry—to inform, excite and inspire.
Also, in 1989 a lone revolutionary working at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee wanted to free content from the confines of technology platforms. He built a World Wide Web on which access became universal and distribution free.
Key excerpt from tonight’s source article:
“For too long, media executives have gotten it backwards. Great publishing comes not from marrying content with distribution. It is the product itself that attracts distribution. So enough talk about “eyeballs,” “native advertising” and all the other buzzwords. To build a great business in media, or any other industry, you need to put the product first.”
So, how does all this tie together to give us publishing’s true product — mainly, content that attracts distribution?