Why stealing from press releases will destroy your media business

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Of all the comments on CJR’s Science Reporting by Press Release story, I thought this one was the most insightful:

Let me spell it out: if you add nothing to your portion of the supply chain there is only a single short-term and a single long-term scenario here. Short-term you add nothing more than what a machine/computer such as Google News adds so you as a human journalist will (not might) be replaced by the same. Long-term even that will get in the way and incur needless costs so any existing business that takes this route will be disintermediated out of business entirely.

In business this is simply what happens when you sell-on-price rather than sell-on-value in markets with low marginal product prices. As the definition of “low” is relative and not an absolute, it’s also precisely what has led to outsourcing manufacturing and engineering which has led to the main reason this country does not have the productive capacity to continue justifying further foreign financing of inflated lifestyle. That’s another ignored story that doesn’t get told when only press releases are republished.

As a whole, corporate America has “screwed-the-pooch” on this as a business strategy in large part to misunderstanding what “profit maximization” really means. I think it is possible for journalism to “sell-on-value” but it requires perhaps more creativity, bravery and forbearance than current corporate America possesses today.

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