Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Journalism: Rumours of its death (short version)

Yesterday's post was a bit long so I've decided to create a bulleted summary of the main points. 

Introduction

Doomsayers say declining newspaper sales and the many visitors to big blogs like Guido shows professional journalism is dead. They say that:
  • The internet means people can read content that they previously paid for, for free, putting print newspaper and magazines out of business
  • Bloggers can do the job of professional journalists
The world's oldest profession
  • Journalism won't die since it's storytelling, which is an older trade than prostitution
  • Business and financial professionals, among others, will always need to know what's happening
Bloggers:
  • Are mainly part-time pundits. They rarely produce breaking news and often don't have the skills or resources to do the job of professional journalists (e.g. court reporting, which requires shorthand)
  • Will replace columnists, such as Polly Toynbee
  • Will also be used as a source of information for full-time, professional journalists
Online advertising and subscription walls:
  • Work on specialist websites or those providing higher-quality information than is available elsewhere
Onwards to the future

Publications will have to specialise to survive or provide free, low-quality information on a shoestring.
  • Local newspapers: Will probably survive by providing ultra-local news and advertising in areas with a strong community spirit
  • Trade papers: Will continue doing high-quality, newsgathering journalism for people who need to know the truth, supported by specialist advertising
  • National newspapers: Will either specialise (e.g. the Guardian becoming a daily trade paper for the expanded public sector) or give a new angle to generic information reprinted from PR agencies and the Press Association
Wot, no vodcasts?
  • Multimedia journalism is a popular topic of discussion, mainly among journalism students and lecturers
  • It's a red herring since video/podcasts, etc. are just a tool for telling stories, rather like a pen or a notepad
Summary

Rumours of the death of journalism have been greatly exaggerated

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