My favorite anecdote from this long and excellent online analysis of the failure of American newspapers:
I worked for a nonprofit media company that was in a tough financial spot. An angel swept in and made all the troubles go away. That afternoon, the top newsman at the company got up to address us. “This doesn’t mean you’re all going to get Blackberry’s,” he said. Instead, we hired consultants to tell us what to do with our windfall, and we managers spent with them many hours—many painful hours, days upon days, all of them in rooms filled with people being paid huge sums per hour—we could have better spent doing journalism.
Months later, the consultants gave us our results at a company meeting. Suggestion number one: The staff should get Blackberry’s. That’s a true story. Media is information, and information technology has been growing more powerful at an exponential pace. The implications of that on society have been obvious, but newspapers, managed and staffed by people who don’t understand the implications of the phrase “exponential growth,” have remained locked into antiquated systems both mental and physical, burdened with IT departments that treated newsrooms as just another department to outfit with crummy, locked-down workstations, and run by managers whose discomfort with or fear of technology was palpable.
“This doesn’t mean you’re all going to get Blackberry’s.” Of course—why would you want to give employees at a media company devices that made it easier for them to communicate and pass along information?
Thanks to the ever contributory Carl P for the link. It is well worth your time to read.
I am astonished to fined that SpliceToday.com, the site on which the story appears does not have an RSS feed. That seems truly counter-intuitive in today’s world. In any case, for my convenience as well as yours, I’m adding it to the blogroll here.