A Quality Product

The other day I was at a dinner party across town. Most of the guests were academics, but there were also three female journalists from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, and Al-Jazeera America respectfully. It was a decidedly Birkenstock crowd. Lots of loose fitting dresses, practical shoes, and not a bit of hair coloring to be seen. Another fellow and I were the only businessmen.

Over coffee, a discussion came up about the decline of the newspaper business. The journalists were in despair over job losses at their companies. It seemed that many of their colleagues where being let go with few prospects for getting hired again.

The other businessman suggested that the newspapers might do better if they could bring more political balance to their reporting. The group as a whole was embarrassed by the remark and there was a notable shuffling of feet and clearing of throats. Finally, the woman from Al-Jazeera offered proof that her company didn’t have such a problem. She noted that for different reasons both the political right and the left “hated” Al-Jazeera. That seemed to be sufficient proof that the news service offered balanced reporting.

Imagine that. “We know we put out a quality product because ALL our customers hate us.” Interesting business strategy.