Interview: Jack Shafer – On the future of newspapers, etc.

PR Week

Copyright PR Week USA Jan 23 2006
Jack Shafer is the prolific media critic for Slate, where he intelligently thrashes the more ludicrous elements of the journalism world.
PRWeek: How do you envision the future of the newspaper industry?
Shafer: I see it as a long, steady, and profitable decline. And this is a decline that started in 1920 when radio arrived… the newspaper industry has gotten used to having quasi-monopoly positions in most of the major markets, and now that they have competition, they are screaming like spanked little children about their losses.
PRWeek: Where do you see it hitting a plateau?
Shafer: I don’t know. I’m really bad at predictions. Every prediction I’ve ever made has turned out to be false. But if you go back and you look, people said that radio was dead when TV arrived. And people said that AM radio was dead when FM arrived. And people said not long ago that the broadcast networks were dead because cable had arrived, and videotapes. And the fact is that every one of these mediums repositions itself, and retools itself, and refuses to die. They’re sort of like your grandfather or your grandmother, where they have so many fucking ailments that you can’t believe that they’re still living, and then pretty soon, the next thing that you hear, they’ve gone off to Bermuda for a three-week vacation. So I would pin a date to it, but I’m almost certain to be wrong.
PRWeek: Any New Year’s Resolutions?
Shafer: Pick more scabs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *