View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Comment
September 3, 2008

What would newspaper beancounters make of the Berliner Philharmoniker?

By Dominic Ponsford1

Last night I watched the extraordinary Berliner Philharmoniker at the Proms (thanks BBC press office).
Stick with me, this will be journalism related – sort of.
I wondered what a newspaper accountant might make of this 100-plus strong orchestral behemoth.
Let’s start with the six-strong timpani and percussion section. Six people to hit wood blocks, gongs and triangles? Surely with a bit of multi-tasking one guy would do.
How about that violin section – is 42 really necessary? Surely ten would make nearly as a good a sound. Ditto the cellos, horns and brass.
And what about that expensive Simon Rattle fellow? Professional musicians should be able to keep themselves in time, let’s scrap him.

You probably could put together a pretty good orchestra for a lot less money than the Philharmoniker, but it wouldn’t be quite the same would it? And you’d be destroying one of the great cultural achievements of human civilisation.
I’m not suggesting that every news organisation could, or should, be of philharmonic orchestra proportions.
But it is terribly important that some great news organisations do survive with their intact complement of violins, cellos and oboes as it were.
Because great news organisations, like great orchestras, are among the crowning achievements of western civilisation.
Funding such organisations is, I admit, an issue.
The Philharmoniker keep themselves in bratwurst thanks to some generous funding from Deutsche Bank.
Perhaps it’s time the world’s great capitalist charitable foundations looked towards funding news organisations as a way of giving something back.
Great journalism, like great art, often isn’t economically viable. But it’s just as important.

Content from our partners
Pugpig named best media technology partner of 2024 by AOP
Cannes Lions: The world's best creativity all in one place
L'Equipe signs content syndication deal with The Content Exchange

Topics in this article :

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network