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Nixon’s revenge: Will the legacy of Watergate put the Washington Post out of business? 7/26/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Washington Post.

Based on an article at CNNMoney.com, it seems like the Washington Post, more than any other newspaper in the country, is doing everything possible to find a formula to stay in business in the face of continuing, dramatic declines in newspaper revenues. Their newsroom is described like a laboratory churning out one experiment after another, and staffed by “a small army of bloggers, podcasters, chatroom hosts, radio voices, and TV talking heads.”

Unfortunately, while the Washington Post might seem “visionary” in its embrace of the latest technologies and trends, it continues to be “blind as a bat” to the problems it really needs to fix. News consumers are not fleeing Old Media because better technologies have come along, but because much of the news content now available over these better technologies has given consumers reasons-to-believe that Old Media has been doing a poor job on providing truth, objectivity, and a voice that reflects their own. The article reveals that the Post has no intention of changing its content. “[Investigative reporting] is what we are all about,” says reporter Dana Priest, paying homage to journalism’s self-perceived high mark, the removal of a sitting President in the Watergate scandal. “Investigative reporting is our brand,” says editor Jeff Leen.

But with only a little bit of investigation, the Washington Post might learn that their cover has been blown. News consumers now understand that most of these supposedly fearless attacks designed to “right society’s wrongs” are simply efforts to “make society think the right is wrong.” So while the Washington Post may have earned a positive reputation for investigative journalism by taking down Richard Nixon, clinging to this obsolete legacy may take down the Washington Post. Sweet revenge from a disgraced and deceased former President.


1. Adam - 7/27/07

I do give them some credit, though. They put in that technorati trackback system, which gave bloggers incentive to link to them and provided readers with a window to other perspectives on anything written there.

They’ve also put in buttons to save/share the article through del.icio.us, digg, google, facebook, reddit, and yahoo. I realize that the content is still the same, but at least they’ve taken some measure to get their facilitate the use of their articles in online debates.

Heck, when I’m thinking of linking to a newspaper article, I tend to choose the Washington Post. It’s no better or worse than the New York Times in terms of the quality of the article, and I stand a decent chance of getting some traffic through their technorati system.

2. Steve Boriss - 7/27/07

Adam, That’s just about the most lukewarm endorsement of the Wash Post I’ve ever seen 🙂

3. Adam - 7/28/07

Hahaha! Well, it’s about as ringing an endorsement of any newspaper that you’re likely to get from me.

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