back to article Steve Jobs fears Nation of Bloggers

A free and open professional media is essential to democracy, Steve Jobs said yesterday at the All Things D conference. "I don't want us to become a nation of bloggers myself. I think we need editorial more than ever right now. "We have to get ways of people to start paying for this hard earned content... Anything that we can …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Nobody gives a toss what you think. Go back to making shiny toys for your pet idiots.

    1. Barry Lane 1

      @AC: "Steve!!"

      Those "shiny toys" of which you write form the foundation for your next PC and its OS. As a PC user you're second in line for everything you use. How come you don't know this?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Barry Lane 1

        "Those "shiny toys" of which you write form the foundation for your next PC and its OS" [citation needed]

        Apple's hardware uses Intel x86 architecture- as in, the hardware "normal" PCs have been using for three decades. Which Apple has only recently decided is better that what they had before. Sounds like _they_ were second in line to me. As for the OS- I think you'll find PC users have been using Unix derivatives for a lot longer than Apple.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    .. King Steve is preparing his politicial career with all that publicity.

    "I am presenting - the First King of the United States - His Royal Highness Steven Jobs".

    That would imply that all Americans must stop driving horrible-looking cars, enforced by the King's Design Police. Miscreants would be whipped 16 times and their ugly-looking SUV shredded on-site.

    99 % of government buildings to be teared down and replaced by frog-design architected buildings.

    And Nightly Rants Of The King on the lack of Kim Il Jong's clothing style.

    1. blackworx

      Kim Jong Il

      Sure I've seen him in a turtleneck before

    2. Doug Glass

      "...teared down..."

      Uh, methinks you mean "torn down" unless you're talking about a crying building. You must be a web logger. Oh sorry, I guess I should use the commonly understood term blogger and not the genesis phrase.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Don't be daft...

      While Mr Jobs might be king of the Apple he is not king of the USA.

      And if he wants Apple stuff to do things in Apple's bespoke way then where is the harm or unconstitutional action in that?

      Pray tell.

    4. Mike Flugennock

      re: Presumably

      Americans, stopping driving horrible-looking cars? Hell, I can go for that. Let's start with the Cadillac Escalade, and whatever the hell they call that goddamn' pickup truck they make. Cadillac pickup truck? Who are they kidding? I could _totally_ get behind the idea of ticketing the owners of ugly-assed American cars, and their destruction on the spot. Hell, this goddamn' country hasn't designed a good-looking car since at least 1972, except perhaps the current model of Corvette. The new Barracuda, Mustang and Camaro look pretty slick, but they're just revivals of late '60s/early '70s designs.

      As far as government buildings go -- well, I was born, raised and am currently living in Washington, DC, which is packed to the gills with wretched-assed government buildings which are either post-post-pseudo Classical Romanish, or else imitation Sovietski-looking piles which have got to be the ugliest, most boring pieces of shit ever designed and built. Not a day goes by when I'm on Constitution Ave or Independence Ave not finding myself wishing that Osama Bin Laden couldn't have spared three or four more planes to plow into the ugly-assed buildings housing the Agriculture Department, IRS, DOJ, EPA, and the VOA, just so I don't have to frickin' look at them anymore. The Department of HHS Building is at least tolerable, as it's got some curves and a bit of class to it.

      Oh, if they all could only look like the National Gallery East Building, designed by I.M. Pei. Now, _there's_ a guy who could get down and _design_ some shit.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Nerd indeed

    "Anything that we can do to help the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other news gathering organisations to find new ways of expression, so they can afford to get paid, to keep their news gathering operations intact, I'm all for."" .......

    Will someone educate Steve, please, and inform him that they are para-news peddling sites to channel opinion and manipulate herd human perception to sustain their right dodgy practices. Is Steve all for that?

    The masses want better ...... and can deliver it , remotely, with IT and Media Control from Virtual Cloud Space.

  4. Alastair 7

    As much as it pains me to say...

    I agree with Steve on this one. There's a large group of deluded people out there that believe bloggers are the 'future' and that 'main stream media' is dead. Until bloggers can be dispatched to war zones and crime scenes whilst guaranteeing a high level of journalistic output, they're going to be doing nothing but commentary.

    Nothing wrong with that, but blogging isn't going to take over the world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As much as it pains me to say...

      No need to dispatch bloggers to war zones or crime scenes. I think you'll find there usually are people already there, usually the natives. It's simply that maybe technology has not reached them yet, but it's only a matter of time. The days are numbered for traditional printed media.

      1. Alastair 7

        Re: Re: As much as it pains me to say...

        "No need to dispatch bloggers to war zones or crime scenes. I think you'll find there usually are people already there, usually the natives"

        Of course. When bombs are dropping on a city we can definitely rely on one of the city's inhabitants to provide us with an objective, unbiased report. They will, of course, be a trained journalist. We definitely wouldn't end up in a world where the news is filled with rumour and happenstance. Anonymous blogger feeding information to anonymous blogger will be perfectly accountable.

        Get real. Blogging allows people to express their opinions in a way they never used to be able to. That's great. But it isn't- and should never be- a news source.

      2. Jimmy Floyd

        Yeah but no but...

        Yes, the world is awash with would-be bloggers but that rather misses Alistair 7's point, the only part you didn't address: "a high level of journalistic output."

        What is being alluded to here is not the quantity of information, nor even its very existence. Yes, if an event happens on the other side of the world then bloggers will be there in force to tell you about it. Instantly. With mobile phone pictures. Big deal.

        What's missing is the quality; the dispassionate, reasoned, balanced and insightful commentary that comes with years of experience, training, contacts and knowledge. Trying to elevate Joe Blogger to the level of an Alistair Cooke or Walter Kronkite is laughably insulting. It's the development of a story and the reasoned argument of points you'd never have thought of that makes a good newspaper great.

        Facts don't make a newspaper, the editorial does.

        It's also the reason why the Murdoch press is so corrosive; because just feeding people what they expect is like a form of information incest, where anything new and unexpected is dismissed, irrespective of how relevant it is.

        And that's why I only half agree with Steve Jobs, because while his commentary is spot-on, he'd quite happily sell space to the shit-serving gutter press and then we're back to square one.

        1. Tom 13

          Didn't miss a thing.

          If so-called journalists were doing what you claim they do, newspapers wouldn't be in quite the bind they are at the moment. What the bloggers have managed to reveal is the unmitigated bias of the news media and enhance the rate of their decline. Facts DO make the newspaper, it's the editorial that gets in the way, especially the exclusion of the bits that don't fit the editorialist's zeitgeist.

          And don't bother to give me the usual bs line about neutrality. I proved that point using the New York Times to a college mate (S) more than 20 years ago. Never did, never will read the rag. I told him the problem was the editorializing posing as news writing. He challenged me about not reading it. I said, okay, top right is the most important story in the paper, open it up, what do we have? Turned out to be an abortion article. Right away he wanted me to pick a different story because that was a special case. Different college mate (M) who typically didn't support my political positions said no, I hit it fair and square. Proceeded to explain how to rewrite in a more neutral stance. M agreed I successfully rewrote in a more neutral stance that did not injure either side. Having finished that I granted S's point and told him the next most important story was on the left side then under the fold right side. Did the same thing with the next story which wasn't about abortion. Did the same thing with the third. S finally gave up. It's only gotten worse since then.

          1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Didn't miss a thing.

            So if you had perfectly "neutral" newspapers - supposing such a thing was possible - then Americans would suddenly start buying them again?


  5. stiv

    not sure

    but think the WSJ is profitable, so maybe its not newspapers that are outdated, just ones that are poorly run

  6. Majid

    Title should read: You can't make money of bloggers

    "Now, if we could deliver a newspaper subscription on the IPad... "

    Believe me that Steve is already contacting the 'professional' media. And will be thinking in true Boss Hogg style: "That would be 80 for me and 20 for us, doesn't that sound like a good deal".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Newspapers as a news source are on their Bataan death march

    a quick scan of the front page of any of the major news web sites will give you an idea of what's going on in the world and will dominate the news agenda for the next few days, with a much greater update rate than the once a day the dead trees can manage. The sooner newspapers (and, to a lesser degree with the exception of the abominable Fox News, TV news channels) can dump the pretence that they are anything other than the expression of particular viewpoints, the sooner they can works to their strengths in analysis and opinion.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      March? Hell, they're already at the prison camp

      The only other "professional" corporate news media outlets I'd like to see die as much as newspapers is TV. Actually, sometimes I think I hate TV "news" even _more_ than this nation's wretched-assed excuse for print news media.

      If you were a Washingtonian, as I am, you'd know why the Washington Post is nicknamed "Pravda On The Potomac".

  8. Craig 28

    Re:King Jobbs

    And how was that different to Bush? Apart from the fact that Bush shafted other countries at the same time as shafting his own.

  9. Parsifal

    Steve Jobs Wants

    To control everything people do so he can make money off it, to have open environments such as twitter, youtube, blogs etc. means people are saying things he can't control or censor.

    More and more he looks like he's developing a God complex, and the worst thing is the press eat it up. Perhaps 12 months without any mention in the news or trade press will bring him down to earth. I'd like to see that if nobody else does, seeing headlines like Steve Jobs drinks a coffee or wears a Blue turtleneck are getting old. (Over-exaggeration I know but that''s what it feels like lately)

  10. Anonymous Coward



    The WSJ is a niche newspaper producing a lot of stories about business which are often unique and provides information which people who make large financial decisions are interested in.

    But most newspapers aren't like that. They nearly all have the same stories, generated from either political PR or corporate PR feeds. They have commentators who are easily replaceable by the best bloggers out there. There isn't a single story on the Telegraph's News page today that doesn't fit into those categories, nothing that counts as unique.

    Newspapers used to have an easy time because there were so few channels for detailed information to flow. Now it's almost unlimited.

    1. stiv

      uh, yeah

      papers that provide quality reporting on subjects the subscribers want = well run. papers whose reporters are hack PR aggregators and op-eds that could have been churned out by sixties era AI simulators = poorly run.....

      also, the WSJ has always had very little in the way of classified ads, another disappearing revenue stream for most papers.

      full disclosure, I am a subscriber, but unfortunately all of my financial decisions are mighty small.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    A dichotomy conundrum?

    Professional news gathering costs money

    Presentation of that news traditionally appears in print, tv or radio

    Press also mollifies that news with views and active influence

    Innovation means that news gathering can be spot on up to the minute and distributed almost worldwide should web publication teams be present and active

    Why pay for dead wood to read something that is already out of date compared to other media publications such as radio, tv or web?

    Some factors that make for an interesting problem and an even more interesting solution.


    News gatherers become more or less unaffiliated news gatherers (exception: local print press?)

    Publication then still hits radio, tv, web snags.

    Maybe print press has to become a publication kernel competing at tv, radio and web?

    I can't really see how newspapers will exist in, say, 50 years time.

  12. jake Silver badge


    Intelligent, entertaining main-stream media died with Herb Caen & Stan Delaplane ... IMO, of course.

    Remember, kiddies, "the news" is entertainment, not education. It exists to sell razor blade, bog roll, tampon and beer commercials in order to profit the shareholders. Same for the online variety.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "It exists to sell razor blade, bog roll, tampon and beer commercials in order to profit the shareholders. Same for the online variety"

      Last time I looked, one of the 4 mainstream news channels mentioned in the article (the Beeb) didn't carry advertising - so how does that fit into your model?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not entirely true

        if you're outside of the UK, you get ads on the BBC's website and news channels

      2. staggers

        BBC Advertising

        The Beeb does a lot of advertising. It does huge numbers of trails for its own programs, far more than it ever used to. A lot of these are for things you can buy.....from the Beeb. That's advertisin

      3. jake Silver badge

        Models ... Not always what they seem.

        Here in the US, BBCAmerica runs the same ads as any other cable channel. One wonders how much of the BBC's income comes from these adverts ... One also wonders how many eyeballs BBCA gets, in relation to eyeballs in Blighty ...

        (While I don't actually watch TV, I called the neighbor out of curiosity ... In the next 24 hours, BBCA is running several episodes of something called "Primeval", DrWho (not certain which doctor), several variations of Gordon "fuckhead" Ramsay's one-trick-pony show, ST:NG (WTF??), an episode of Antiques Roadshow tomorrow morning at 5am (set your VCRs!), and of course the BBC News. That's it. How exciting. Way to go, Auntie Beeb!)

      4. Shadowmanx2009


        That's because we're 'forced' to pay for it!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Working the wrong angle

    I think Steve and crew are working the wrong angle on this.

    There is still a lot of value to be brought by the commercial media.

    The problem with their current way of thinking is in their delivery model.

    Rather than deliver the cold hard facts, they all want to deliver opinions.

    People don't want their opinions, they want facts from the traditional press and media.

    They want to get several opinions from several different viewpoints.

    Most news and media organizations can't deliver

    that right now. They just can't seem to seperate the fact from opinion, always

    trying to slant the viewpoint to more favorably light their own agenda.

    Bloggers are great at one thing, and that's pumping out tons of free opinions.

    So why not go after what the bloggers can't provide, which are the facts.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      It's not the facts

      It is the _impartial presentation of facts_ which the traditional, professional media should provide.

      Almost everyone, even web loggers, can provide facts. Recently, several instances in areas of conflict have shown that ordinary people on-site equipped with a mobile phone camera can record and publish facts almost immediately. The trouble is, those publications are subject to individual perception and bias. This renders the facts almost useless up to a point where it is just "tons of free opinions". Free opinions are in principle a good thing. The value of tons of free opinions is, however, rather questionable for it is hardly possible to distinguish the valuable comments from the others and, in addition, people tend to prefer those opinions which confirm their own biased view and disregard the others.

      (Is a typewriter your input device?)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    protecting his planned market

    Well that's what the ipad was built for, no? (NYT ,WSJ, WP, et al)

  15. Chris Hatfield

    Sod Murdoch, I hope his fortune dwindles

    El Reg is a blog and it's mah favourite read for tech news. Maybe Steve likes to get cosy with Walt Mossberg & David Pogue, who may or may not engage in mutual back scratching.

  16. skeptical i

    Citizen Jobs

    "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper."

    Call it _WSJ_ for "World of Steve Jobs" (who needs Wall Street?).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The register pretty much is WSJ now

      Given that it's all iPad stories, and angry pre-linguistic daily mail readers cursing them.

      Rarely does Redmond expose its flank by way of sport any more, I suppose. Truly this is a Brave New world, where we can't even be bothered to take the piss out of MS.

  17. Ashley Stevens

    Biz model

    The newspaper business model was always that the cover price paid for the printing and the ads paid for everything else. In the electronic world the printing cost is gone, so why shouldn't the cover price go too? After all, the ads should still be there to fund the rest of it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too much supply

    I have recently come to the conclusion that the problem with mass media is not that the quality is bad (though much of it is pretty shoddy these days) or that people aren't willing to pay for content (people never want to pay for things if they can reasonably help it) but that there is simply too much competition in the marketplace.

    Before the internet the newspaper was still the primary form of receiving news for many people. Radio had not supplanted the newspaper, as in most cases radio stations only want to broadcast a few pieces of interesting news before returning to playing music. Television had done better than radio, but the evening news still only really allowed for limited coverage of a few popular topics. Dedicated cable and radio stations improved on this formula by consistently broadcasting the latest news, but still filled the space by repeating the parts that would be more popular. Newspapers on the other hand offered an optimal format: A large and varied selection of articles could be offered in a small space for a small distribution cost. The reader was then able to select the articles that were interesting and skip the boring ones. So, in many respects the newspaper worked much like Google News: It made a large collection of various types on information available on demand.

    However, before the internet, a local paper would only have to compete with a handful of other organizations to sell their newspaper. The local TV and radio channels were enough for some people, but if you wanted more information, you needed to buy a newspaper. And there were usually a limited number of newspapers available. You could buy one of a couple different local newspapers or one of the national newspapers. Of course, many people could tell you that a national newspaper, while often of better quality, could not replace the local newspaper as it has local news.

    When the internet was added, though, instead of newspapers only needing to compete with a couple neighboring newspapers and TV stations, they suddenly had to compete with almost every other news organization on the planet. Most of which have very similar things to say about various events. If I want to know the latest info about the Gulf oil spill, Google News currently has 13,499 articles about it. Certainly, some of them are better than others and some are more up to date than others, but I as the reader have over 10,000 articles to choose from. Even a simple story about a woman who died in a fire in Victoria, TX has 35 articles in Google News

    At this level it becomes hard to charge for a newspaper, because for most newspapers, someone else is offering the same product for free. Even if they all tried to fix the price of access, the bottom would quickly fall out and they would have a race to the bottom again. In this environment, any viewer/reader becomes a source of income and most of these companies need any income they can get to stay afloat.

    I agree with St. Jobs, that we don't want our media to be completely controlled by bloggers, just like we don't want it controlled by the entertainment industry. Both groups have shown to do a poor job with providing quality reporting in general. But the current state of the market is too untenable to continue.

    While I think the best thing would be if news organizations seperated into different segments for local, national/world, and specialist markets and tried to pare down the number of offerings in each, I suspect that its more likely that the local news organizations will tend to survive the best. These organizations, like the televised evening news, are able to subsidize their news operations from more profitable areas if they need to. This will end up putting more pressure on the national/world news organizations and the specialist shops so that there will be a whole lot fewer of those as the decade progresses.

    tl;dr: Too many news organizations, not enough readers, expect more organizations to close shop.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a no brainer

    All the newspapers need to do is put talented writers on the web, who can write objectively about the current events of the day. Collect money from the web site adds, just like everybody else. If the writing is objective and current, I'll find it, and so will everybody else. Clearly there is not enough objective and thoughtful content on the web. I don't buy newspapers anymore.

  20. Antony Riley
    Dead Vulture


    Well not so long ago, you'd find many derogatory comments about bloggers in a typical serving of El Reg. Nowadays it's more like a blog site, pedaling more opinion and less facts, and of course all the anti-blogging rhetoric has vanished (So I have a couple of authors in mind here).

    On the one hand I don't mind informed bloggers posting their opinions so much, and many blogger do post informed opinions (not necessarily the ones people follow).

    Some might accuse news agencies of doing little more than pedaling their own style of opinions on other peoples news, and they'd probably be right in a lot of cases.

    I think Steve's opinion is only half the story, the half which helps him sell more shiny toys.

    People seem to like opinions that fit in with their own, heaven forbid we have to think for ourselves.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      Can't remember that last time

      I saw "peddling" spelt correctly on the net - its always "pedaling" as in bike. I feel it shows the user of the word isn't sure about the meaning of it.

  21. slooth
    Thumb Down


    So......when the (news)papers/news sites such as bbc ask silly questions like:

    Are you in xxxxxxxx? Do you know xxxxxxx? Send us your comments using the form below.

    Will they expect to pay us for this information??????

    Or do they want this information for free? Somewhere along the line, someone has to draw the line........

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    As a melancholic observation

    Now imagine that the means to make el Reg readable did not include web publishing.

    Who on earth would sponsor el Reg to be newsed up, printed and distributed?

    Then how interactive might it be were we to rely on stamped envelopes and snail mail along with editorial read times and compilation skills to assemble comments and print them meaningfully?

    Such are the voids that print needs to address.

  23. Tracer Hand

    The Times?

    All those links are now behind a paywall...

    Unless you meant the New York Times, which seems more likely. They actually have a pretty popular website.

  24. Eponymous Howard

    Hope he's right...

    ....anything that kicks back against the karaoke journalism that makes up the "blogosphere" is welcome by me.

  25. Mark 65

    Easier sell

    He'd have an easier sell if there was some genuine quality journalism going on rather than the cut/paste pass it around crap that is all too common these days.

    WSJ and FT will no doubt work as they are specialised but the mainstream press will have a harder time with the tat that they peddle.

  26. garbo
    Jobs Horns

    Jobs is either a liar or a fool...

    and I don't think he's a fool. He should know that the "professional" media are corporate mouthpieces used for the dissemination of outright lies and propaganda or, at best, distorted news that benefits corporations behind the media. I know: I used to work for the "professionals" and got fired for writing he truth.

    So, the only hope for Jobs's "democratic' media is in fact with knowledgeable bloggers and non-profit news outlets, such as

    Feel no sympathy for Murdoch and other media barons; they have none for you.

  27. Havin_it

    Rumours of print media's demise exaggerated

    It must be a very rarefied environment most commentards on this site inhabit, that they'll swallow the idea that newspapers are teetering on the brink of extinction. This is simply horseshit and to believe it is to live in a bubble.

    Newsflash: there still exist a massive core of the population for whom the newspaper remains the only readily-available source of in-depth current-affairs information (and, in some cases, breasts). For whom popping into a corner-shop and dropping 20p on the Currant Bun is *never* going to be replaced by a phone- or PC-based equivalent. Then there are plenty more who perceive the established papers as bastions of true journalism (not for me to comment on the veracity of that perception) and blogs etc as no better than adolescent masturbation (often hard to disagree, but see above). These markets are sure enough contracting, and individuals in the sector will face tougher times, but the idea that they'll be nothing but chip-wrappers by Tuesday week is massively naiive.

    1. Andy Watt


      "It must be a very rarefied environment most commentards on this site inhabit, that they'll swallow the idea that newspapers are teetering on the brink of extinction. "

      Two things:

      1. Don't use terms like "commentard" - apart from the fact that it's perilously close to l33t-crossover portmanteau drivel, you're actually insulting people there.

      2. Dont be such a high and mighty idiot.

      Although there were one or two comments on here suggesting that "print is dead", there were also one or two rather wordy but well thought out analyses which reasoned that hard copy print journalism is on the way out (within 50 years?).

      If the kindle/iPad/WebOS(HP to be)/Android/Windows7(yeah right) tablet revolution really does take off, then:

      1. It would seem a good idea for existing media organisations to engage with the technology in a way which makes them revenue so they can continue to provide some form of edited journalism - even if it is to perpetuate their own political standpoints

      2. It would also seem a good idea for the producers of those tablet devices to ensure that they have a USP, and aren't just "blog browsing machines" - and being able to read, in a degree of comfort, the newspaper you used to get in hard copy would seem a good USP to me.

      Although the disposable and low-cost nature of print is a definite plus, it's a pain in the arse distributing it: over time (and we are talking 50+ years here, well after I plan to be dead) media organisations will push versions of their output into electronic devices for the 22p a time we're paying now for chip wrappers to be.

      How newsprint dies out I'm not sure. Critical mass of reading devices would be required. I'd guess that "cut down" versions for smartphones would probably be included (so get the "broadsheet" on an iPad, and the "mini" version on an iPhone, say, to use today's tech) - analagous to the transition which some broadsheet publications made recently to smaller formats.

  28. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    El Reg goes NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive?

    "El Reg is a blog" ..... Chris Hatfield Posted Wednesday 2nd June 2010 23:13 GMT

    Err...... You might like to review that opinion, Chris, and consider that it is, with IT and Controls in Media, a Future IntelAIgent Lead Feed....... for that is what IT has become/begat.

    Please note that there is no question there.

    Many a true word is spoken in jest ...... and it does provide a sublime believable cover.?!:-)


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