"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

“Baghdad” Tony Messenger

May 24th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

Remember “Baghdad Bob” during the second Gulf War? Who can forget those priceless scenes of Baghdad Bob, confidently assuring the world that the Iraqi Army was defeating the American enemy, while also assuring us that Saddam was still in power. While on a split screen, you see our Army and Marines taking city after city in Iraq. You can’t blame Baghdad Bob, he either did what he was told, or he’d wind up in some torture chamber having his fingernails pulled out.

The Springfield News Leader’s Tony Messenger is in a similar unfortunate predicament. He must defend – at best – a second tier newspaper in a dying industry, while bastardizing himself in the world of blogosphere anonymity. Unlike many bloggers, at least Messenger’s getting paid to put lipstick on this pig. In a post today, Mr. Messenger seems to take exception to the recent criticism a lowly blogger leveled at his paper.

Anybody in my biz knows that there’s a story a day, or more, proclaiming the end of the newspaper business as we know it. I’ve never bought it. Why? Every newspaper I’ve worked for has been profitable, at least as much as I know about such things. (emphasis added by MOPNS) And while our business is changing, and not all the changes are good, in a few key areas, we’re stable. And people are still investing in newspapers right and left. I wasn’t even aware of some of the technology discussed in the WSJ article, and when you consider that for the most part, newspapers have some of the largest most well-read Web sites on the Internet, that bodes well for our future in terms of delivery platforms.

“Anybody in my biz knows that there’s a story a day, or more, proclaiming the end of the at newspaper business as we know it. I’ve never bought it.”

That is an incredible statement that was apparently made with rose colored glasses on. The “newspaper business as we know it” is currently a morning delivered, hard copy source of yesterday’s and last night’s news. Mr. Messenger, you actually believe that business model isn’t dying? Yes, you’ve adapted, but you’ve adapted to the internet. As we note below, it is what is keeping you afloat.

“Every newspaper I’ve worked for has been profitable, at least as much as I know about such things.”

Many newspapers make their profits from internet ads. The Missouri Political News Service doesn’t expect you to know this fact, since as you indicated, you’ve not been privy to the books of your newspaper employers. Many in your industry note the $ 4 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch for the Wall Street Journal as proof that newspapers are still viable. The WSJ is still viable because they have done the opposite of what most newspapers have done. They have not laid off staff or shut down bureaus or outsourced their news to news services. It is well written, well researched, and informative. Can you honestly say that about the News Leader Mr. Messenger?

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Tags: Tony Messenger

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  • 1 P Campb // Jul 26, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Wait until the News-Leader tries to charge for access to their internet site. By the way, have you ever tried their search engine to find an article? WORST EVER.

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