News is expensive, timely, and not very brand-safe. Why did the economic model work in the 20th century and not now?

Great deep dive into the challenges of digital news companies in the 21st century. Naturally technology plays a big part into why news isn’t sustainable in the 21st century. But the real reason why news was made possible in the 20th century was that last century, industrialists were drawn to media for vanity and, well, as “insurance.” Owning the means of production and communications medium allowed them to control what was said of them, and what they could, in turn, say about their competition. Hearst vs Pulitzer, and so on. That side of the history of media is fascinating; I started to cover that in the Turn the Page series on ContextTV and more in Legacy.

Those classified-profit-machines posing as local information brochures made the profit printing presses of today’s tech behemoths look take. Media owners would pour profits back into swanky newsrooms as… insurance. Eventually, the Web changed dynamics, Craigslist, Google, yada yada – the so-called ad monopolies of today – i.e. Facebook, Google (whom, ironically, are already seeing rising threats that will erode their profit base) don’t have similar concerns and thus, less interest to maintain those traditional newsrooms. That’s why the future of local news may be rooted and anchored in academia and campuses.

But even in moving away from news to entertainment, media owners who bought studios and TV networks understood the sex appeal of show business came with the reality that you may not like what was being produced. Ideally, owners, managers and creatives can compromise. That takes time, communications and compromise. For more, read We Let Straight Men Do It All The Time.