Takk for maten-tale fremført på Redaktørforeningens høstmøte 31. oktober 2016:

 

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

I follow you on Facebook, but you don’t know me.

You might say «Oh no, stop! Not one more Norwegian editor in a t-shirt!»

Well. You are right. Still, Mark, listen. This is serious. This is very serious. This is even more serious than last time.

I am political editor at the Norwegian business daily Dagens Næringsliv. Or as you would have said it in Facebook-terms: I am part of «the content and policy operation team» at Dagens Næringsliv. But we call that editing.

I am writing this letter to inform you that this evening Norwegian editors are gathered here in Oslo. We have been eating dinner. And we have been talking about you. Therefore, as you may understand, we are a bit gloomy.

Let me tell you this: We are so gloomy, that if you don’t listen, we will not – and I repeat: not – publish pictures of our food on Instagram. And not one of us will post selfies from this evening on Facebook to tell our friends that we «Sitter her og koser oss med noe godt i glasset».

At least not until next week.

As you might remember, Espen Egil – you know, the first guy in a t-shirt – was a bit upset about a picture that you wanted Aftenposten, the prime minister and everyone else to delete from Facebook. You changed your mind, and thanks for that.

But that was just one picture. Now let us talk about what this really is about.

To be honest, I have no illusions that you will read this letter. The reason why I will still make this attempt is that I am upset, disappointed – well, in fact even afraid. Or desperate. Outdated. And even worse: Disrupted.

First some background.

A few years ago Norwegian editors never wore t-shirts at work. They wore suits and ties, smoked cigars and had leather chairs and oak tables in their big corner offices. And they looked grown-up. Now we try to look like 20-somethings working for a startup in California.

Listen, Mark. First, you make us publish our content on Facebook so that people do not need to pay for our papers anymore. Then you take our advertisers.

You might say that this is a give and take. However, we give. And you take. For us this is not working any longer.

Facebook is for the pleasure and benefit of the whole world, myself included, on a number of levels. Espen Egil keep in touch with his brothers. I keep in touch with a bunch of people I have never met. And I call them «friends». Some of them post pictures of flowers. And sunsets.

And you send me reminders about birthdays. Every day. You have created the world’s most impressive birthday-machine. Now we are fully aware that every single day is somone’s birthday. So – thank you!

And congratulations.

Dear Mark, you are the world’s most powerful editor. And let me tell you this: This is not about a picture from the Vietnam war. So let us just move on from this Espen Egil-incident. This is about the economy.

Mark, let me tell you this: The situation for traditional media – let me say this in a Facebook-language you will understand:

It’s complicated.

Facebook’s Mission Statement states that your objective is to «make the world more open and connected». For us this means downsizing. We offer our journalists «slutt-packs».

Let me explain: It is like unfriending someone. Except you have to look them in the eye – and pay them a lot of money.

Therefore, what we need to do is this: Let’s make media great again. You know – old media.

The least Facebook should do in order to be in harmony with its time is to open an office in Bergen. You might even get state aid if you do so, like TV 2 is begging for – and likely will get. You might say «Why? What’s wrong with Bergen?» However, the real question is «Why? What’s wrong with Norwegian politicians?»

Editors cannot live with you, Mark, as a master editor. Or – we can, actually. But we have a hard time living with you as a master competitor. Except NRK, of course. In the midst of a media crisis, Thor Gjermund still has a license. A license to chill. He does not have to worry about user payment or advertisers. So he is truly someone you should consider putting in the category «close friend».

But the rest of us – we have a problem. Simply because we cannot afford you.

Mark, let me try to explain how this feels for us.

It is like being a young, attractive woman. In an elevator. Alone. With Donald Trump.

I would not say that you are groping. But it does not feel good to be disrupted either.

I could have continued, Mark, but I have to stop at this point. I have written this letter to you because I am worried. Journalists want to have their paychecks. We need to send reporters to Italy to buy lip cream. And this autumn all our commentators are in the United States for weeks and weeks.

But you messed with our business model.

So, Mark, forget about that picture. But please: Send our money back. Bring back our business model. Or could you – at least – pay some taxes?

If that is not possible, I might have one other suggestion for you. Tonight we have eaten salmon. We had delicious deer. And chocolate. And we have been drinking, of course. Quite a bit of wine.

So: Could you pick up the bill tonight?

If you do, Mark, we promise that we will keep feeding you.

Thank you very much!

LES OGSÅ:

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