I’ve had a certain news story on my mind lately and I wanted to write out my unemotional, totally non-biased (at least I think) opinion on it. As almost everyone in the world knows a certain New York newspaper published an interactive map stating the names and addresses of gun owners in the area. This newspaper just so happens to be my local newspaper. Now forget which side of the gun control debate I stand on because it really doesn’t matter. Politics aside, I can’t get over how stupid of a business move this was.
Newspapers are DYING. I mean completely and utterly floundering. They can’t make money if their lives depended on it. They’ve tried to breach the gap and start websites with paywalls and all other kinds of nonsense monetization methods but it hasn’t worked. No one wants to pay for the news and that business model of pay-for-news is dead.
So this local newspaper which still has some readership decides to act on their anti-gun bias and publish an interactive map of gun owners. I’m all for free speach. Publish whatever the hell you want. I just don’t understand this from either a logistical or business angle.
What exactly does publishing this content accomplish? OK, i’ll give it to them that they got A LOT of attention from it. Way more attention then this newspaper has gotten in all of their years in business combined. Having this data easily accessible accomplishes nothing. Ok so you know your neighbor owns a gun…what are you going to do…move? Knowing the data doesn’t accomplish anything for the everyday citizen.
This is how i’ve deduced the situation from a business perspective. I’ll use bullet points to simplify what i’m thinking.
- Young people don’t read the newspaper
- Young people tend to be more liberal and liberals tend to favor gun control. (a generalization of course)
- SOME older people still read the newspaper
- Older people TEND (again a generalization especially in NY) to lean more conservatively and conservatives TEND to favor owning guns.
So the newspaper decides to create this interactive map and piss off their limited amount of readers to appeal to the people who don’t read newspapers? Even if you say that the older people who read the paper are evenly split with half being in favor of gun control and half being against it, you’re still alienating HALF of your limited readership. Stupid business move if you ask me.
It would not surprise me if this decision puts yet another newspaper out of business.
What are your thoughts?