Steve Jobs: I Don’t Want Us To Descend Into a Nation of Bloggers

| News

Steve Jobs doesn’t want to see the U.S. “descend into a nation of bloggers,” and he believes that the iPad could help save the news industry by helping to monetize content delivery . The key, according to Mr. Jobs, is that traditional media businesses lower prices and aggressively go after volume customers.

Mr. Jobs made the comments at the D8 Conference, where he said, “I think we need editorial oversight now more than ever. Anything we can do to help newspapers find new ways of expression that will help them get paid, I am all for.”

He believes that (contrary to popular belief) people are willing to pay for content, but that media interests need to get more aggressive when it comes to pricing their offerings in the digital world.

“The market right now is set up to be far more responsive to consumer demand for what prices need to be than it was six months ago,” Mr. Jobs said. “Prices may go up in near future, but if consumers want the prices to be less, they will be far more responsive to those signals then they were six months ago.”

Late in 2009, leaks concerning the iPad began coming from the publishing industry, where Mr. Jobs had been the soon-to-be-announced iPad as a great news and magazine reader that could turn the tide in the eroding fortunes of publishers. Since the device’s release, many of those publishers have released or announced dedicated iPad apps.

Pricing, however, has been all over the map, with publishers like Rupert Murdock of News Corp suggesting that premier properties like The Wall Street Journal could and should command a hefty premium. On the other end, The Washington Post offers an iPad app for $1.99.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

14 Comments Leave Your Own

Bregalad

The US is already a nation of bloggers, as are most other countries with unrestricted access to the internet. My default home page is macsurfer.com which aggregates data from a mix of small and large sites. My “top sites” page in Safari has 12 spots. Only two of them are devoted to traditional news outlets while 8 are blogs. The other two change frequently and tend to be retailers.

Mark Hernandez

I, for one, would be more than happy to pay for a tech blog site where the writers are thoughtful and take the time to be informative, the copy is proofread, the articles aren’t given ridiculous or deceptive titles that serve as click-bait, and most of all, the quality is consistent.  Sites like Business Insider and most of the rest are absolutely awful.

I couldn’t agree more with Steve, and too much of our time is wasted with trashy writing and reblogging and attempts to be inflammatory for the purposes of inflaming comment sections and increasing pageviews.  I’ll pay to take that dynamic out of the equation.

Currently I can’t think of a tech site that is consistently good.  MacObserver is without question one of the better ones and is brave enough to refer to Steve’s comment.

Currently there are only individuals that I can rely on for quality writing that help me understand what’s going on, such as the king John Gruber, Andy Ihnatko, Jason Snell, Matt Drance, Daniel Eran Dilger to name a few.

And Gruber’s Daring Fireball site is very interesting because, besides his own writing, he finds and makes reference to other superior writing of people with impeccable critical thinking skills and he makes it work with only one “sponsor.”  He, and his site is in a class by itself.

I’m not saying tech sites can’t be entertaining and thought provoking, but most of it amounts to click-bait for pageviews, and that dynamic has it’s major downside, and we need alternatives.  It’s too much effort to get so little in return.

We also need to improve the critical thinking skills of Americans to deal with and sort out complexity, and it’s especially embarrassing in the tech industry.  I love writing that points out flawed thinking and at the same time helps everyone learn how to be discerning and avoid oversimplification.  I believe we are all in this to understand the industry we work in so we can make good choices in our own efforts.

Mark Hernandez
Information Workshop

other side

The only thing that can save the news industry is itself.

Crap is crap whether it’s delivered via iPad or desktop or even old-fashioned print.  Publish content worthy of attention or even a subscription, and people will take notice.

algr

Isn’t there a song about this now?

:: Oh are we human?  Or are we blogger?

aardman

Steve Jobs speaks as if he had just been victimized by a blog run by a gang of perpetual adolescents.

MacGnome

Isn’t Macobserver.com a blog?
Didn’t the Internet outsource the Editor job?

Everyone who blogs became a self-editor.
Internet democratized information to the lowest common denominator.

We are now left with the likes of Huffington Post and Drudge Report which aggregate news to one website. Editors will now have to work separately from the writers with their own blogs grabbing stories left and right.

JulesLt

AnandTech is usually pretty good, and Ars more technical articles are also good, but not frequent enough. The key thing with the best aspects of both is when they’re giving a technical audience the facts they want.

I still have a concern about the whole ‘lower costs, go for volume’ strategy - where free is the most extreme version of this - because past evidence suggests that, generally, to get the bigger volume, you also need to ‘dumb down’ the content to do appeal to bigger audiences.

(Otherwise you are arguing that it is the cost of media, rather than content, that has held it back in the past).

We need a media ecosystem that can also sustain niches.

>Didn?t the Internet outsource the Editor job?

My observation, having been using the Internet since the late 80s, is that I think it’s actually got harder to find useful information, compared to opinion and noise. Unchecked rumours spread rapidly, to the degree that proper news sites like the BBC report on them (qualifying that they are unconfirmed rumours, but lending credence to what is often the opinion of some idiot like Enderle being repeated by thousands).

It’s one reason why I’ve ditched a lot of crowd-sourced feeds like Slashdot. 

I still find an edited magazine (like The Wire or Shindig) to be a lot richer in useful information compared to my RSS feeds too, as well as also offering serendipity.

>We are now left with the likes of Huffington Post and >Drudge Report which aggregate news to one website.

Which is rather depressing, really. They’ve found good models for extracting revenue from online news, but they’ve not found one that would, say, pay for real investigative news. WikiLeaks only works if people on the inside leak.

And I think that is the problem with so much rhetoric about online content. Anyone who believed in the business models they are proposing other people should use should surely be siezing the opportunity to create a new news organisation, TV production company, invest in authors, journalists, etc, to produce content under their new model.

Instead, they produce portal sites, payment channels, and other ways to ‘connect producers and consumers’. It’s like a gold rush where everyone wants to sell tools to the gold prospectors but there’s actually no gold and too many tool shops.

Lee Dronick

Steve Jobs speaks as if he had just been victimized by a blog run by a gang of perpetual adolescents.

Gizmodo?

Photodan

the king John Gruber, Andy Ihnatko, Jason Snell, Matt Drance, Daniel Eran Dilger to name a few.

And Gruber?s Daring Fireball site is very interesting because, besides his own writing, he finds and makes reference to other superior writing of people with impeccable critical thinking skills and he makes it work with only one ?sponsor.?? He, and his site is in a class by itself.

I say this as someone who reads DF pretty consistently. John Gruber is an example of someone who COULD have an extremely well-respected tech site. He chooses to make DF more a blog and less a tech-driven opinion source by adding personal and very slanted views on extraneous political and sporting subjects. I always skip past that sort of content but roll my eyes whenever I do.

The site is his to create but I think he’s missing out on creating something really great.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Next on D8… Steve Jobs complains that the sky is blue when it’s not cloudy.

Mark Hernandez

Really interesting topic.  And, of course, everything always boils down to balancing tradeoffs.  (freedom vs. quantity vs. quality) x flavors x POV.

I don’t know that things could be any better, but it’s always worth trying.

Whenever someone posts something, it’s inevitable that people will chime in and bring more clarity to the subject.  If only this could affect the original post and it could be rewritten and rephrased based on the feedback. 

That’s a collaboration thing, and we aren’t quite there yet.  I wonder if collaboration tools will ever arrive for that masses, it’s been at least 30 years now.  The guys at MacStories put a google wave in a browser window so we could follow Steve Jobs speaking at D8, and you had to constantly scroll downwards with the mouse to keep the next post in view.  Someone at Google thought it should work that way, jeez.  One step forward, two steps back.

davidneale

I have to agree with Jobs, and extend his comments not to just one “nation,” but to the whole of the computer-using world. The quality of the use of language in most blogs (not only those written in English, but also in the other languages that I read) is often dreadful: errors of grammar, errors of spelling (not just typing mistakes), errors of usage? What is really sad, is that such errors are often in sites that purport to be semi-professional, or even professional. This is where control and careful editing is required: speed is not an excuse for poor quality.

401k

Wonder how much the newspaper organizations paid him to say that.

Bryan Chaffin

Wonder how much the newspaper organizations paid him to say that.

You can’t possibly be serious, but it’s too dry to come off as funny, either.

Log-in to comment