The “barbell problem” in media: The ends are fine, but the middle is getting squeezed


While in New York this week for a GigaOM event, I had coffee and lunch with a number of media-industry insiders and observers, including Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky – two people I think are among the smartest media analysts in the business. And one thing that kept coming up is what I have chosen to call the “barbell problem” for media, and specifically for newspapers: in other words, the feeling that while both ends of the journalism spectrum are probably going to be fine, the middle is getting squeezed to the point where its future is uncertain at best.

So the New York Times, for example, is going through the same kind of uncertainty and upheaval as the rest of the industry – having to lay off staff, cutting costs, selling assets. But while the paper’s paywall and other measures may not totally fill the gap

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