Ezra Klein on Search Engine

The New York Time’s Ezra Klein was on PJ Vogt’s podcast Search Engine this week. They discuss the ongoing slow-motion collapse of media and journalism. Within a couple minutes, Ezra jumps into one of the best takes I’ve heard on why local media is failing:

Newspapers practically had local monopolies and that gave them a business model. If you were an advertiser, who wanted to tell people about shoes, you advertised in the LA Times, and the LA Times took your money … the news business was selling was a local advertising monopoly, and that was very profitable, and crucially, that sustained a lot of different players who were not really in competition with each other. When I grew up in Southern California, the New York Times was probably net a better paper than the LA Times. I never read a New York Times… I barely ever saw one … Now, the New York Times is I think the biggest paper in California. The key thing happening right now is all of the general interest players are in competition with each other and that’s going to have a kind of natural effect of if you’re only going to subscribe to one large news bundle you’re going to subscribe to the largest news bundle. You went from a situation where the Baltimore Sun and the LA Times and the New York Times and like the Dallas Morning News were not competing with each other to a situation where they were.

There is a lot more there, which is worth listening to.

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