The old business model of journalism was based on an old-fashioned world that made Howard Hughes a billionaire even though he was just a goober: he had access to something other people were denied: a special drill, and in the oil industry, it was the bit more than the oil that counted because the bit was a key.
Back in the olden times, kids, media owners had the key to all the mass communications tools, such as broadcasting license or a printing press. They had access to a big audience, and their core of their business model assumed that if you wanted to advertise to a big potential base, you had to play by their rules because those motherfuckers had a key and you could not unlock that special access area without them.
Because of the rigs, it it rewarded and attracted a certain kind of person to run those properties: script-memorizers who held tightly to the key, thinking it was a permanent crown.
In other words, it rewarded assholes.
Then the Internet said, “Fuck you” to those assholes, and then the whole world had that access. It would be akin if someone had a better bit than Hughes and then just gave it to everyone to drill their own oil. Hughes would be flipping hamburgers, and everyone else would live happily ever after. The End.
Now that the old model is kaput, you would think they would see what has changed, and then devise new plans based on the new reality.
Because they are arrogant assholes who think they are superior to the little people. They are so used to bossing people around and telling then what to think. They do not want to mix or mingle with those plebs.
They don’t want to slum it with poor people. Those are icky populists who aren’t even impressed with reporters, and call them out for spewing fake news.
They like to hobnob with rich and powerful people, fellate them at cocktail parties and maybe get a patronage appointment that pays better than the low-rent job as a journalist.
It is a sad state of affairs.
I interviewed the haves and the have-nots when I worked as a journalist. I interviewed people in boardrooms and people in jail. Some of those people in boardrooms ended up in jail or are just not in boardrooms anymore because they got kicked to the curb. The people I interviewed from jail are not in jail anymore. They were released and are productive members of society, never looking back.
I always was mystified by journalism. I went into it to study it, and I could not for the life of me understand the demented arrogance of people in it who thought it was a horrid thing to interact with other human beings. I loved, loved, loved that part of the job. I never tired of listening to other people. I learned so much, and became a better person for it.
It is a plus for an emotionally literate person, however.
If you are emotionally illiterate, it becomes a burden. It is like walking with numb feet. You will stumble and you do not understand what you do not feel. You have no clue what elements are missing within you because you don’t have in you.
So if you have no feel, you lack data. That is a crucial concept to understand: if you are missing emotionality, you misinterpret reality, and hence, your perceptions are misaligned with that reality. You have gaps, and hence whatever arguments you try to use, logic is not filler that can compensate for the lack of real and raw emotions. If you do not feel that you are feverish, you do not know that you are in danger. That’s what happened to the profession: all the signs of trouble were missed because of the lack of feel.
Journalists live in a dead profession, and it is dead because the key elements in their own souls are dead.
Which brings us to their fucked up and dysfunctional ideas about their “business model.”
They do not have one that is in any way aligned with reality. The old days where they held all the cards sailed far away from them, never to return.
Because they have no respect for their audiences, they do not want to have to hustle. They are forever scheming for easy and lazy solutions.
Such as “donations”: give us money!
Or begging the government: give us tax money!
Or being a mouthpiece to rich tycoons like Howard Hughes: give us lots of money!
Notice none of these models have them earning their money, or being among the people they are supposed to cover and inform.
And journalism — and its alternative — can never be legitimate through these sketchy methods. It will always be propaganda.
If you have an actual product, people will buy it and use it.
If I don’t buy a toothbrush and toothpaste, I will have rotten teeth. If I do not buy food, I will starve.
If I don’t get educated by learning to read, I will be at a disadvantage because I will be illiterate.
So journalism never had an excuse. They were just arrogant and lazy, nothing more.
And also lacking in any common sense.
If the government funds you, you are fake news.
If you get donations from many or one, you are fake news.
You are toxic waste polluting the information stream and pure manipulative garbage.
So then what is the model?
It is the only legitimate method that can work without compromise.
Because it is the method in tune with reality.
When I became a journalist, I did so to study it. Most people do not appreciate what that actually means.
It means that I walked among the subject I was studying. I was in the eye of the storm. I did everything that was part and parcel of being in the profession. I never had to guess or reconstruct reality. I lived that reality.
My survival depended on getting jobs in the profession. That was my pay check; so I knew exactly what the life of a typical journalist was because that was my life.
I did not have to make educated guesses or overthink anything. I knew the pressures of deadlines and demanding editors as well as difficult people I had to get to speak to me. I knew how people reacted to a reporter. I knew how reporters got educated and groomed.
But because I entered the profession with a plan, I could benefit from pre-hoc analysis, versus the inferior post-hoc.
When people get disillusioned, they may begin to study their old profession with certain filters, but it is not the same, nor can it ever be empirical: because they were never trained to see connections and facts, they miss too much, and then have to reconstruct memories that are tainted and compromised.
I never had that problem because I walked in with a plan from Day One — a very complex and complicated plan where I literally conducted hundreds of experiments.
And the fact that this epic fact keeps flying above everyone’s head is very funny and infuriating at the same time.
I am literally the only person in the world with my set of expertise and all I get is blank stares and pathetically ignorant reviews from ditzes who obviously do not comprehend a reality that veers from their rote scripts. Fuck them.
To add to my knowledge base, one of my beats was writing about —ta da! — the business of journalism.
Are you following me?
Here is someone studying journalism by becoming a journalist who is also using her job to research the business of journalism. Quaker sensibilities, kids: waste nothing.
So I can tell you how worthless and fucked up the model was — and the shameless cheating newspapers stooped to in order to try to hide from advertisers how badly their circulations were tanking. They started counting free newspapers into circulation — stacks of untouched newspapers were counted as part of readership.
And this was almost twenty years ago.
Bad, bad, bad rot.
And I covered it.
So here are a bunch of bad businesspeople looking to make money without having to actually earn it — and completely ignoring the fact that they were the ones who were responsible for the collapse.
They will entertain everything else except for bootstrapping. So the one thing that works is off the table. Nice try.
Bootstrapping forces you to use risk and emotional literacy to earn your keep.
You do not get investors, angel investors, crowdsourcing, funding rounds, bank loans, tax dollars, patrons, nada.
If you have ten bucks in your pocket, you start your business with ten bucks.
Yes, you have your work cut out for you, but that is the realistic and honest route.
You will not brag, no. You have nothing to brag about.
No, you will not get invited to swanky cocktail parties in the beginning because you cannot be exploited and used.
That’s the point. You know exactly where you stand with no fantasies or delusions. All those veils get torn off real fast.
So now you have to start thinking about real things, such as how are you going to start, how you will pay your bills, and you will need plans that will be constantly revised.
Advertising is expensive, and it is ineffective. The only thing that works is being useful, and word of mouth. That’s it.
I can talk about bootstrapping because that has been a model I have experimented with and used, even now.
And not just with writing, but also with art and teaching. What I had is what I used.
It is a slower process, but builds more than just a solid foundation: it makes you hyper-vigilant of your surroundings and reality as you deal directly with the public. I need no focus group or polls to tell you what is happening in the world.
I didn’t invent the concept, but I have always admired those who made it that way, and I have a deep respect for those who bypass the lazy path and understand its significance.
It forces you to go in the middle of a group of homeless people and speak to them, not at them, or past them. If forces you to go directly to powerful people and not slobber all over them or fall for their feints and ruses. They cannot fool you because you are trained to see their reality.
You feel the winds of change and can adapt. You focus with humility. You learn to bond with knowledge and with your work. You learn who your true friends are, and that is not a pessimistic revelation. For me, it was a happy surprise that the number was much bigger than what I had originally thought.
You meet new people, and often, they open your eyes as you open theirs. You learn the power of connecting to others and experiencing a life of movement, feedback, and cooperation.
It makes you see hard work is not shameful, but a blessing. You do not see bad times as obstacles, but as puzzles to solve.
You learn to innovate and improvise as you experiment and think about tomorrow.
And you owe no favours. No one owns you because you become one with the chaos of the infinite because you learn to let go of your fear.
And if you are unafraid of reality, you can see it and deal with it.
You can walk right into the eye of the storm and gain vision.
Journalism is blinded by its own deadness.
Chaser is going to go the bootstrapping way, but it is not my first foray into the method. The first professional publication I put out, I was in grade eleven. It was a literary journal showcasing the art, stories, and poetry of my fellow students. I did all of the work, negotiated the price with a printer, and sold it with a profit that I donated to my high school’s special needs class. It wasn’t a huge profit, but if a teenaged girl can do it, so can the self-entitled geezers who have media properties.
That was bootstrapping.
So was the original Chaser, as is A Dangerous Woman and this web site.
I admit I had bizarre setbacks in the last few years. God dropped the ball that directly fell on my head, where I ended up in a place below Hell where the devil decided right then and there to ambush me with a death match and played dirty, let me tell you.
Yeah, never mess with a Serbian woman from Hamilton. I am still a little stiff and sore from that bullshit story called 2018, but hey, I am alive, conscious, and coherent to write this, motherfuckers. Go me!