Time to change old expression: It’s about page views, not selling newspapers

Want to give some props to my old pal, Paul Sullivan, who is killing it in his new assignment as a baseball feature writer for the Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, he had a terrific piece on former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who is spending 2013 in baseball exile.

One line, though, caught my attention. While talking about his stormy relationship with former Sox GM Kenny Williams, he brought up the media’s role.

Guillen said:  “We had a meeting with Jerry (Reinsdorf) and we were OK. And all of a sudden a couple of days later, it (wasn’t OK). I don’t need stuff like that. I think the media did what they were supposed to do — sell papers.”

How antiquated is that last line? For generations, dating back to the glory days of Hearst, reporters have been accused of going for the flashy headline in the effort “to sell papers.”

There was a paperboy on every corner, yelling, “Extra, extra, read all about it.”

However, it hasn’t been that way since the last typewriter was manufactured. People aren’t running out to buy newspapers.

No, it’s all about page views. That’s the currency that sells for newspapers and their websites, and for people like me with their blogs. Stir up things in the hopes of getting people to click on your site. Perhaps even several times.

All those clicks add up to more page views, which hopefully translates into more advertising.

So in 2013, it is time to retire the old expression of “selling newspapers.” Next time Ozzie, or anyone else for that matter, should say:

“I think the media did what it was supposed to do–get page views.”




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