Bonus issue: Media bloodbaths and why we hacks shouldn't beg for sympathy

I fight for the user. That means calling my own indusry on its bullsh*t.

Like Tron, I fight for the user. Any time a worker loses their job, it sucks. But when media job losses are announced there is always a certain level of schadenfuckyou. I get why. The press and media often act appallingly. Our level of empathy for others, when they are at the heart of a ‘big story’, can be almost non-existent.

The example I flip out of Rolodex of Media Bullshit most often is of the night after the Bataclan attacks, when a producer for ITN, came over to a family member who I was interviewing and ‘shushed’ him as he was telling his story. His crying was too loud and Mark Austin was attempting to report live. I still want to find that producer and kick him squarely in the testicles.

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Today’s particular media bloodbath is 180 job losses at The Guardian where, like the New York Times, an internecine civil war has been raging between different political factions. The ‘wokeists’ as the right would put it versus the ‘establishment liberals’. It cuts largely along age lines, but also tends to be about those who have had long and well-paying contracts at the paper (the music press refugees of the 90s) against the younger Comment Is Free contingent (who got their start usually in blogging and leftist politics). These fault lines are not easily fixed.

Most people think there are easy answers for this stuff. There aren’t. My one question is why The Guardian remains so institutionally opposed to soft paywalls — that make readers pay after they have consumed a fixed number of articles — or partial paywalls (focused on particular sections like Jobs or Media news). Both of those solutions are not technical challenges and publications such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker and New Statesman have all showed that they can be implemented well.

The Guardian hurts itself. Advertisers and readers aren’t to blame.
Philosophy is the problem.