Picked up this hilarious video off The Daily Show website on the challenges facing newspapers, in this case The New York Times. There are few bigger fans of the NY Times than me, yet I couldn't help be surprised at the tone of the Times managers. Don't know if it was smugness or self importance, but these guys came across as virtually clueless as to what is happening around them. I'm sure they are passionate about what they do, but passion alone is not enough in itself. And that's one of the problems with the mass media these days. Reporters and editors revel in their passion for the business and believe that this passion for their craft should be enough to save their jobs. After all, isn't what they do important? And if it's important to them, shouldn't society value it? But passion alone entitles you to absolutely nothing. It doesn't solve changing reader habits and interests and it certainly doesn't address the revenue issues. The problem is this: passion can mask the real problems facing an industry, and simply being passionate about it falls well short of becoming part of the solution.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
A doctor may be passionate about medicine and helping people, but if he doesn't hire people to deal with the insurance companies, she'll soon be out of business. A documentary film maker may be passionate about her subject, but if she doesn't find someone to market and help fund it, no one will never see it. I'm sure the GM workers were passionate about making cars in Michigan, but if no one is buying Pontiacs, what value is that passion? Likewise, reporters and editors talk about their passion for their business, but it's a passion as only they choose to selectively define it. Passion is only valuable if it comes with the ability to change and accept that everything you may do tomorrow may be different. To be part of the solution, and not to simply whine that things have changed and the rules have changed. Unions love to cling to their "rules," but many times these rules have been rendered obsolete by the market. So simply clinging to the work as you define it may reflect your passion, but it's a recipe for eventually being out of work. I'd trade a pound of passion for an ounce of flexibility and problem solving in a minute.