Cuban: Newspapers Do "Dumb-Ass Shit"

Categories: Media

Not that Mavs owner Mark Cuban is criticizing our fair medium; it's just that "newspapers don't see their own value," which is a point well taken. So that doesn't stop Cuban from touting The Dallas Morning News in the latest issue of Esquire, in which Cuban shares "What I've Learned" in the mag's regular feature in which famous folks' quotes are transcribed without context and offered as fortune-cookie insight. (Of Dallas' Only Daily, Cuban says, "If I want to keep up with what's going on in Dallas, I have to read the local paper. So newspapers aren't dying; they're just undergoing an identity crisis. They don't know who they want to be.")

A few other things Cubes has learned are after the jump; and, no, how to stop an eight-game losing streak isn't among them. The issue should hit newsstands next week. --Robert Wilonsky

Wherever I see people doing something the way it's always been done, the way it's "supposed" to be done, following the same old trends, well, that's just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.

If I had more time? I'd get into places where people are so afraid right now that the economics dominate the common sense. I'd get into a business like newspapers-local newspapers. Newspapers are a perfect example of how economics dominate common sense. Contrary to popular belief, newspapers aren't dying. Newspapers are making tons of money; they just aren't keeping their shareholders happy, they aren't meeting the expectations on Wall Street. The problem with newspapers is that they're trying to grow like they're Internet companies in 1999. Their shareholders are bitching at them about not showing growth in share prices. The minute you have to run your business for share prices, you've lost. It's over. They've focused on that and so they've lost. What they should do is step back and ask, "What makes us special?"

No balls, no baby: That's what I like to say. It's so true. Most people don't want to cross that line. There's safety on one side, uncertainty on the other. Most people don't take that step. And it's not even so much that they're afraid to take the step; it's that they know deep down that they didn't do the work necessary to be prepared, and that's the big difference. Most people think, Oh, I have a great idea, and the only thing missing is that I don't have the connections, I don't have the access to money. But that's the biggest bunch of bullshit. The minute anyone says that to me, I know they're a failure. Because if you're prepared and you know what it takes, it's not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.

I don't care how Internet savvy you are or whether you're in ninth grade or college, you're not going to read twenty-five pages of text online. In newspapers, you read more pages, you read more words. There's no way around it. But newspapers don't see their own value. They just don't get it. So they do dumb-ass shit, like they can't figure out who their customer is, they can't figure out what business they're in. They have all these news-wire reports, these breaking stories, but anyone who's Internet savvy knows that breaking stories, sports events, all that stuff is available on the Internet thirty seconds after it happens. The people who are in tune to wanting stuff immediately are going to get it online. But when you read The New York Times or you read the L. A. Times, you read the Chicago Trib or The Dallas Morning News, when they break a story that is unique, not just first, but unique, a story that you can't just pick up on the wire, you have to read it. And if it's geared toward different demographics, fine. Like, businesspeople have to read the New York Times business section-even though from personal experience I know they're wrong a certain percentage of the time. You still have to read it, just in case something clicks. Like for me. If I want to keep up with what's going on in Dallas, I have to read the local paper. So newspapers aren't dying; they're just undergoing an identity crisis. They don't know who they want to be.

I think one of the biggest curses in the U. S. is that we have only two political parties.

If you're looking where everybody else is looking, you're looking in the wrong spot.

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