One reason for the decline of newspapers, according to the Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf: Boring headlines.
Conor runs through a long list of actual — painful, even — headlines he saw at the Newseum Monday and notes:
The question isn’t whether you’d pay 50 cents to read those stories; it’s whether you’d agree to slog through them if paid $15.
…Boring headlines are just one of many problems afflicting newspapers. Still, they seem symptomatic of a broader attitude that makes much of the content contained in their pages needlessly dull. The writers are often capable of writing better copy. The photographers almost always get more interesting images than make it into print. But the prevailing ethos combines a suicidal insistence on staid neutrality with an aversion to anything provocative even within those bounds.
Wow. Can we replay that last bit again?
…a suicidal insistence on staid neutrality with an aversion to anything provocative even within those bounds.
And that is why newspapers — or the entire journalism industry — is hurting.
We have to take more chances. We’re no longer a must-read. We have to become a daily must-read.