Posts Tagged ‘value creation’
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Paul Bradshaw is wrong. The argument goes like this: drive up the supply of journalists, drive down the unit price of a story. Sounds fine, until you think through the argument more carefully. It only matters that hacks bloggers are giving away drivel content for free if their competition drives wages down.
What reduces the value of something economically? Increased supply or reduced demand are two key factors. And indeed, journalism as a profession has been consistently devalued economically as a result of one of those factors: increasing numbers of people who want to be journalists and who will work for free, or for low wages. The result is that the wages of journalists are very low – a pattern which predates the internet and the rise of blogging, etc.
This is rife with the same fallacies that convinced Lou Dobbs that unskilled immigrant labor drives down middle class American wages. Bradshaw’s pseudo-economic analysis treats journalists like fungible, undifferentiated commodities, just about the same as feed corn.
There are lots of markets where giving some stuff away doesn’t make the other stuff worthless. In fact, free-beer software creates entire business ecosystems for software, hardware, and services. Strategic giveaways are good business strategy. For more on that, read Tapscott and Williams or Chris Anderson.
Then there’s the question of whether blogs and papers are in the same market. They’re not. Newspapers do the hard job of editing: screening, curating, and fact-checking stories. The whole reason that you’ll pay to read the Financial Times but not my blog is because of their hard-won reputation for excellence.
If your newspaper is printing roundups of the “Here’s what the blogs are saying about…” variety, it’s time to switch your subscription.