By Steve Outing
I’ve been working on the process of closing down the Enthusiast Group (including trying to sell our websites). Oddly, it’s not quite as depressing as I thought this would be. I don’t exactly feel good, of course, but I’m feeling optimistic. I’m trying to figure out why.
I’m not someone who hates change (how could I be; I’ve spent a big chunk of my career embracing the change that the Internet has brought to the media world), so the thought of a new beginning is kind of appealing. Some new opportunity will arise, and that’s a nice thought.
But another reason I’m feeling oddly optimistic is because the newspaper industry is such a mess. The latest circulation numbers, compounding previous bad news, I’m looking at in a positive light. It means that the industry is finally starting to feel enough pain that it has to take drastic action; it has to make serious investments in new technology; it has to take chances that its executives have largely shied away from. The funding of serious watchdog journalism is at risk because of the industry’s decline. We have to figure out a solution (and it’s NOT saving the print edition).
So I’m thinking that this higher level of pain will create some interesting opportunities. It creates an interesting time for people like me — those of us who believe that journalism is important, but believe that it will take some revolutionary changes to save it.