the first in what may be a series of unfunny pieces rejected by the New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs column:
''Quality journalism is not cheap…The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels, but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news web sites”
- Rupert Murdoch
Dear Mr Rupert Murdoch,
I wish to offer my views on the August 25, 2010 edition of your e-newspaper, which, as I am your paying customer, you will no doubt be interested to hear.
As you yourself have pointed out, quality journalism is not cheap. Having calculated my $25 annual subscription as costing upward of 6.84 cents a day, I would expect a better service from you than I can obtain elsewhere for free.
Therefore, some points:
First: there is far too much violence in your electronic publication. I am not paying to read endless descriptions of beheadings, ritual canings, invasions of small nations by slightly less small nations, general exploding of ordinance, etc. I find these reports somewhat distressing, and I would expect your service to reduce their occurrence to a more manageable frequency, say one a fortnight. That should be sufficient.
Second: not enough goldfish. I could find only one brief report today concerning the Sixteenth National Championship of Goldfish Scooping in Japan. As a confirmed goldfish fancier, and, again, your paying customer, I would expect at least a feature article on the winner along with profiles of leading competitors, their tactics for scooping up fish, their training regimes, breeds of fish used and so on, in addition to the somewhat cursory video you have provided. I can recommend a well-qualified Japanese-speaking piscatory reporter if you are in need of a stringer. You have a whole year until next August, which you could devote to setting up a proper Japanese Goldfish Bureau to cover the Seventeenth National Championship of Goldfish Scooping, and it is my view that this is the kind of innovation which will have subscribers flocking to your service. What, after all, is the Internet for if not top-notch journalism on events of compelling global interest such as this?
Third: Sex. As I’m sure a businessman of your stature will understand, you are operating in a very competitive market when you venture on the Internet, and I’m sorry to have to inform you that I could get better, and dare I say more personalised, content from a camgirl in India than is currently being provided by your web sites, and far cheaper too. If you value my business, you will attend to this aspect of your service without delay. I understand that you are coming from behind on this part of your online offering, but surely the owner of the London Sun can find some pretty girls somewhere? Again, if you need help, I can direct you to a number of sites operating in this area which I believe are highly profitable, some of which are even legal in some states of America. As you so perspicaciously point out, good content does not have to be free; people are willing to pay for the quality stuff.
Fourth: Where, I would like to know, is the curling? You call that sports coverage?
Fifth: International politics. Please, no. I invite you to go online and look around. Do you see anyone blogging about the proceedings of the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) Sub-Committee on EU Government Bills and Bonds Markets, let alone tweeting on the topic of the stormy love life of its chairman, Jens Thomsen, Deputy Governor of the Danish Central Bank? Thought not. Replace this segment with some Brangelina gossip and trust me, no one will miss the politics.
After all, Mr Murdoch, the customer (that’s me…unless someone else has signed up to your e-newspaper since last week) is always right. Right?