I am feeling mean today. So, here is my first mean post of the day.
About a week ago I read this delicious post about the business of scientific publishing. It is a good read throughout – the title of the post is “Who is killing science on the Web? Publishers or Scientists?” and the answer is interesting. But what stood out for me was this paragraph:
This past February, I was on a panel discussion at the annual NFAIS conference, a popular forum for academic publishers. The conference theme was on digital natives in science. At one point I was asked (rather rudely) by a rep from a major publisher what exactly the new business model should look like for publishers in an Open Access world. My first thought was, “I don’t care if you find one or not. I’m here to advance science, not your bottom line.”
And that paragraph can be equally applied to all of publishing, not just science: from newspapers to books. Just replace “science” with “journalism” or “Truth”.
Business model! Business model! All they care about is business model. I am excited about the way the Web is transforming society and all they care is how to save their jobs! I get it – they should care. The new media ecosystem can support a much smaller number of professional journalists than the old one. So many (though not all) will lose their jobs. I don’t have an interest in that aspect of the media business at all. If they have any other expertise besides scribbling, they will find other jobs once their media houses lock the doors. If not, tough. But I am really not interested in their livelihoods. Just like blacksmiths found jobs in car factories, the journos will find something else to do. I am interested in the ways new media channels are changing the world, not the parochial or individual insecurities of those whose world is changing. I am an interested observer of the revolution and saving the inevitable victims is not my job.