The Wire Exec Producer David Simon Takes Issue with Newspapers Offering Content Online for Free
I love HBO’s The Wire. I mean love. It’s so gritty, so real, has such great characters, great writing, great stories, and is occasionally deeply and richly and oddly funny in that way that The Sopranos defined.
And I dig exec producer David Simon â€“ from everything I’ve seen he’s super smart, interesting, and obviously has been behind one powerhouse of a show about his hometown of Baltimore, now going into its fifth and final season.
There’s a great interview with him here on Ain’t It Cool News. But I do have to take issue with him when he says:
And newspaper managers – who have so much contempt for their own product that they give it away for free, misreading the internet as advertising for the product, when it was the product itself – they tell us they are going to do more with less. You do less with less, that’s why they call it less.
I do get where he’s coming from. He’s an old newspaper guy, and the upcoming season of The Wire takes a look at how the media is partly complicit in the plight of the inner city, how stories are driven by bottom lines and sensational headlines instead of by a dedication to getting to the real stories and real problems, which ironically cost more money and tend to sell less well with the populace.
But blaming advertising-supported online content is pointing a finger in the wrong direction, I’m afraid. Newspapers were consolidating under monopolistic corporations well before people starting heading online in droves for news and information. Further, while the Internet is ripping to shreds old models for how content providers and traditional media companies make money, there’s every chance, I would argue, that the online world can and in some ways already does provide a platform where top-notch reporting can find an audience and make money at the same time.