January 15, 2010
The media landscape is in such a mess at the moment that media organizations should be shoring up their energies, focusing on turning out high quality product and finding ways to make sure that that product reaches an audience. There's strength in numbers, so it makes sense for media organizations of a similar kind to look for ways to partner with each other and help each other out.
The reality, however, is very different. I'm seeing nothing but bitterness and resentment across the board. Local media outlets here in the Bay Area are harboring pointless and petty rivalries for one another, rivalries which they can ill-afford at a time when resources are at a premium and time, money and energy ought to be funneled in more productive ways.
Interestingly, the main source of disgruntlement seems to be happening not at the level of the big players in town (who are all suffering just as much as the small fish), but rather in the terrain of alternative weeklies, blogs and public radio stations. This seems ridiculous to me. You'd think these Bay Area-based liberal-leaning organizations would have more of an open mind and want to help each other out. But a spirit of mean-spiritidness is rife.
If any of these organizations hopes to get through the next couple of difficult years in tact, they need to start being less insular and lose the misplaced camp mentality, which can only lead to their mutual destruction.