Reviews of Newsonomics
Mark Fitzgerald and Jennifer Saba, Editor and Publisher: “Ken Doctor’s new book “Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get” not only crisply explains what the heck is going on with newspapers, he does it in such a conversational tone that the pages fly by. Before you know it, any reader can get a sense why the walls are crumbling down around once august newspapers. To Doctor’s enormous credit, he backs up grand statements with actual data. How many times have we heard that massive volumes of stories are going untold due to huge cuts at newspapers? Doctor doesn’t just eyeball the orphans, he tries to figure out a number bringing the reader through the process. By taking the number of jobs lost in the newsroom from 2007-2008 and the average number of stories produced per staffer, Doctor arrives at a whopping 828,000 stories that have vanished or as he puts it, “neither written nor read.” This book is full of such examples….But Doctor’s message really isn’t, be afraid, be very afraid. It’s that newspapers, amazingly, still need to accept that their old world is gone for good. But that a new press waits to be born, to serve, and draw is sustenance from, a familiar figure to newspapers — the reader. Reading this book, I found myself reaching for a legal pad dashing down ways to improve our own operation here, inspired as much by the author’s perspective as the well-chosen specific examples of successes or potential successes”.
Rick Edmonds, Poynter Institute: “Sure, there is plenty of solid analysis, but “Newsonomics” reads more like a series of battlefield dispatches from the hunkered down camp of beleaguered old media and the loosely organized fronts opened by new media insurgents. And Doctor is a virtual Christiane Amanpour of the news wars — quick-moving, observant, solid in his interpretations and engaged without being a cranky partisan…..Linear is out, right? Doctor does not proceed in a straight line, breaking up the loosely knit chapters with newsy sidebars. The book is organized in the manner of John Naisbitt’s 1982 classic, “Megatrends,” around 12 stories within the big story. None of the trends are oh-my-God startling, but they add up to a far-reaching overview of what’s decaying and gone and of the new order that is emerging”.
David Worlock, DavidWorlock.com: “The Master of Newsonomics. …This is something quite different: descriptive prose and fresh insight about the news business by someone who knows how to interview, can argue a case in lucid English, and writes with the sympathy of an insider and the distance of a practised analyst. This is no accident. Ken did more than 20 years, man and boy, before the mast in newspapers, and latterly in the now defunct Knight Ridder, where he had the helm in digital enterprises in San Jose. Here at least they took the approaching digital tsunami seriously, even if elsewhere they were unable to ride out the storm. Ken then became a celebrated news media analyst, both on his own Content Bridges blog and for Outsell.
So this should be good. And it does not disappoint. Here you will find a good analysis of what happens in a media segment when the classical gatekeeper editorial role becomes diminished in Authority. You can see here an industry contracting and consolidating as cyclical change becomes structural. The growing disaffection of readers is matched by the inability of news providers to come up with any recognition of what their readers now want, and the people who read that disaffection most accurately are the advertisers, who quietly head off elsewhere. Meanwhile new aggregators re-intermediate with new solutions, turning the old suppliers into secondary sources – and sometimes free sources at that. Meanwhile, readers are becoming newsmen, local is being reborn, and community in the network begins to recreate news forms which in print had taken two hundred years to evolve. Reporters get to be bloggers, niche is more important than general and everyone is Editor. A new form of marketing is born around viral distribution, which begins to suggest new roles for news media. This is a great story, and it has not been told in a better analytic style than here”.
Library Journal: “Although the story of how content is produced and consumed has been covered before (think Chris Anderson’s Free and David Weinberger’s Everything Is Miscellaneous), Doctor manages to strike a new tone that’s well balanced between nostalgia for the old world and acceptance of (as well as optimism for) the new. VERDICT Doctor’s analysis might be a bit detailed for the recreational reader, but it’s essential reading for journalism students and those interested in media culture.—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader’s Advisor Online