By Labor Day of this year Google will have published the book Newspapering for Dummies. It’s for those that Google CEO Eric Schmidt says are “too dumb to figure out how to run their newspaper.” He talked with Doug Page, who podcasts for News & Tech magazine (formerly Newspapers & Technology.)
Before you decide that “them’s fightin’ words” consider that newspapers probably initiated the rounds of name calling, and really, the point of his arrogance is undoubtedly to generate conversation about the book – which, of course, is what’s happening right here. And probably a whole lot of others places too by Monday morning.
In the News & Tech article Schmidt said that Google had started to invite newspaper executives to provide some chapters and then concluded that “the dumbest Google employee is smarter than the smartest newspaper executive.” Some exceptions were made. Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell will contribute.
Beyond all the contrived offensive comments, a book about publishing a newspaper by folks who’ve never published a newspaper isn’t that bad an idea, really. I bet there will be some great tips and resources within. A big part of the problem with newspapers’ transition to multimedia, is the print-mindedness and the traditional slowness to action of so many of its industry leaders. Another huge stumbling block is newspapers’ long-standing unwillingness to promote beyond their own publications. Having someone who hasn’t picked up those bad habits to say the way it should be done might just be what the newspaper industry needs.
If only some newspaper executive had announced a book about Search Engining for Dummies, told News & Tech that they wanted to team up with Google but the dumbest newspaper exec was smarter than any Google employee so the paper was going it alone. I’d be blogging about them now. SIGH.
Oh, and for those who didn’t realize, this News&Tech article was a satire written by Doug Page.