How the web is saving journalism…

Making Journalism Better

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As promised, my slides from my talk at the Reuters Institute on how the web is making journalism better… although the caveat I did not enter at the time is that it’s not making life any easier for newspapers; the two are not precisely contiguous… The economics of the net is squeezing the value out of papers such that Bryan Appleyard is forced to admit that

“In this climate I console myself that it’s better to be an old hack than a young one and even better, of course, to be an upmarket one.”

Note: the slides are less an argument than a series of illustrative texts and diagrams…

  • The overwhelming majority of people who use the net rather than the newspapers or tv as their main sources of news still go to traditional agencies for that news – the BBC, the Guardian, UTV etc. The Guardian editor Rusbridger has said more than once that he is banking on the net and the expansion of comment to save his newspaper, even though it relies on the profits from autotrader to survive. It has 8 million or so readers in the States. That has to be worth something. So the net does not necessarily mean the death of traditional newspapers and companies.

    On a separate note, I admire you Mick for leaving the original wrong spelling of ‘its’ in place. That’s a proper attitude to the record of the past!

  • Wilde Rover

    It could also be argued that the web isn’t saving journalism in so much as it is bringing it back from the dead.

    For what it’s worth, I would place the beginning of the death of journalism in the Anglophone world at the sinking of the Luisitania and its failure to ignite the response from the general public in the US a la the sinking of the Maine.

    The subsequent consolidation of media holdings, particularly in recent years, has lead to the true death of journalism in the traditional sense.

    The problem these media holdings have now is that they can be called out on their bullshit and they have been forced to allow the traditionally shunned speakers of truth to power a forum so they can give their slick corporations an ounce of credibility in the light of day.

    And it is places like this that pulls back the curtains to reveal the proverbial puke stains on their previously perfect publications.

  • 6countyprod

    I admire you Mick …it’s v its

    That’s assuming, of course, that Mick actually noticed the error. We all have our blind spots.

  • RepublicanStones

    Love the last Orwell quote, all too ture in this day and age.

    The idea of a journlistic/media revolution and the means of production having changed hands is interesting. Appleyards admission is revealing, perhaps its also got to do with the ‘old dog..new tricks’ mentality. Whilst the net has made every man jack sitting over his cornflakes a homemade hack, the competition this engenders will only make the best even better !

  • RepublicanStones

    “…all too true in this day and age.”*

  • Mick Fealty

    Not sure there ever was a traditional form of journalism. Classical perhaps. Often aspired to; less often achieved.

    Nothing is inevitable. Some journalism is going to the dogs, some of it is rising. All of it will have to decide who engage with increasingly atomising conversations; and with which does the current value reside.

    There’s a related discussion going on over at Brassneck, which points to the fact that too much of the debate on line is immature and shoot from hip stuff that often obscures as much as it reveals.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/mick_fealty/blog/2008/12/02/populist_debate_and_the_loss_of_useful_clarity

    And now I really must got to bed… Night all!!

  • Mick Fealty