What is the future of journalism? Pick any adjective out of the dictionary and that word can describe it. The news business is in such a revolutionary time that filling in “The Future of Journalism is ____” with any word, and supporting the argument, has become a parlor game among a certain mass media-obsessed set.
Today I found myself on another future of journalism panel, and a Japanese journalist shared the observation that his paper’s business plan is “old people living longer.” Luckily, he says, Japan is an aging society and “old people love the printed paper,” so their business model rests on those eyeballs. The only times people call to cancel their subscriptions is when a subscriber has a.) died, or b.) lost enough eyesight that the print is too difficult to read.
Banking on old people to stick around as long as possible (in relatively good health) is kind of Japan’s nationwide policy, come to think of it.
A few weeks ago I rounded up some friends — at the last minute — to take part in the pub quiz at The Argonaut, an H Street bar that’s annoying to get to and yet always packed. My sorry teammates will probably never forgive me for sharing this, but of the 12 teams that took part in a seven-round pub quiz, our team — Quantitative Pleasing — placed last. We blame the small size of our team (four players compared to the 10 plus that other teams boasted), and two ridiculous categories: “Name that Cat Breed” and “Comic Books.”
The ignominious “prize” for coming in last place is the losers get to choose a category for the next week’s contest. We chose “Movies About Newspapers” and quizmaster Michael was nice enough to send me the questions, even though our team was unable to make it to see these questions presented live. See if you can answer them. In true pub trivia fashion, no cheating with your mobile devices!