Is Journalism on the Verge of Dying ?

Is Journalism on the Verge of Dying ?

Rima Amin 09/09/2017 14

Billionaire Richard Desmond is poised to sell the Northern and Shell Media Group to Trinity Mirror. This includes the Express and Star newspapers sparking concerns over news plurality from the National Union of Journalists. 

 

Journalists are Being Lost

 

 

 

Newspaper journalism has seen major shifts since the rise of digital media - with Desmond responding to the challenges with a strategy of freezing pay of staff for nine years and making cuts. Even this has not stopped the Express and Star losing readership. Other papers have been squeezed too -  the Independent stopped their print edition and as readership numbers suggest, other titles may need to follow suit too to survive - unless there is a swift change in strategy.

 

With the political landscape in unsteady, and the words “fake news” being increasingly known as a concept - there is a desire for quality journalism. But what does digital mean for newspapers? As news outlets lose revenue from competing digital platforms and writers, there’s less money to fund journalists and give them the tools they need to produce quality work - especially with investigative journalism.  

 

The misunderstanding of journalist’s skills also means that there is no urgency to see their trade be saved. Journalists are not simply writers. Depicting a scene using captivating adjectives is different from the pursuit of key facts, verifying them at speed, catching the right sources and making responsible decisions about what to publish.  This misunderstanding plays part in the demise of industry and its ability to produce reliable content.

 

Soaring Expectations

 

 

Digital has provoked a rise in expectations from the public. They want news at ferocious speeds within seconds of an event occurring. To meet these expectations, journalistic process is at risk of becoming shoddy.


People Don’t Want to Pay and They don’t Understand why They Should 

 

To some readers, content is content, and so long as it’s interesting and free, they’ll take it, regardless of reliability. Before digital, the press and television was the only way to get news. The process of news gathering has never really been explained public. Papers were very powerful and never had to justify this.

 

Lisa Markwell, editor of the Independent on Sunday, once said she couldn’t understand why people were willing to pay for an overpriced coffee but not quality writing. The Guardian use this narrative too to get members to sustain themselves. 

 

Animosity Towards Press and Journalists

 

The public are fed up of journalists – the ones who exhibit callousness to get a story. They are the loud few that give the industry a bad name. That said, there are clear examples where press has also taken advantage and conducted themselves poorly. The invasions of privacy by the News of the World is an example of this. It sad that the journalists risking their lives each day to uncover truth- are often forgotten in conversations around the trade.

 


The Rise of Citizen Journalism and Mobile Technology

 

 

Withins seconds of an event happening, photos and videos will be shared on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. It makes little financial or time-sense for a news outlet to send a journalist to the scene when they can pull content from online for free. Whilst this is great, it also comes at the risk of not being verified.


Saturation of Online Content

 

More information is out there than ever bringing the potential of people being more informed than ever. On the flip side, there’s so much information out there that it can be difficult to ascertain what is real and what is not.

More Freelancers are Available 

 

More journalists are becoming freelancers either out of choice or the lack of paid work. Pitching and publishing on mainstream news outlets is a lengthy process. Writers know that timing is crucial and may instead opt to publish on their own platforms  and can do so with freedom from editorial bias. It also means that outlets can find writers easily but they may be less likely to pay for content - knowing that authors could be content to have their story told and have a byline. 

 


The Rise of Alternative Perspectives

 

It’s no secret that British press has been criticised for misrepresentation - especially of minorities. Digital offers a place for those whose perspectives have previously been neglected and for missing parts of stories to be told. 

It is important to remember press regulation allows the press to perpetuate political preference and ideologies. The digital landscape allows for an alternative influence on political spheres as seen when David Cameron announced further support for Syrian refugees in response to online pressure from the British public.



Disunited Industry Response

 

The industry is responding to the changes in different ways. Whilst the Times put up a pay wall, the Guardian maintain a position of offering free online content. A united stance could reap better results.

Ultimately, the expansion of digital brings great opportunities and challenges to journalism. If the public hold a genuine desire to be better informed, they need to be active in questioning content before sharing it. Also, the industries need to better inform the public of why journalistic process is worth investing in.

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  • Lee Yung Shun

    The public thinks that journalism is an easy job, but it's not. There are some people who have lost their life to report major events during wars. With the rise of Internet, information is available for free to the public, hence no need to pay to get content. But then remains an important question: Should we trust news on social media ? The "fake news" debate is stil ongoing. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion ;)

  • Bianca Oliveira

    I do barely read newspapers, I just check online websites to get what I need to know

  • Daniela Moraïs

    Nowadays, people hate journalists, politicians and financial professionals. They are all the same. They do all follow an agenda. I don't share this opinion, it's a shame that investigative journalism is disappearing.

  • Pedro Paulo Gomes

    At least in your country, you have freedom of speech. In South America, most of our journalists are corrupted :(

  • John Lauren

    I still pay monthly subscriptions to read quality content. Traditional media companies should find other ways to reward their journalists. Their work is very underrated though !

  • Nigel Mcnamara

    Excellent article !! One of my favourites in BBN Times !!

  • Daniel Heckmann

    Journalism is far from dead !! What we are seeing now is a change in public perception about what they do. They must also understand that their content is now part of a conversation, not a broadcast. Journalists no longer have a monopoly over their readers :)

  • Kevin Andersson

    Journalism and the editorial words have always been a cut-throat business :D

  • Vikash Bawal

    Newspapers outlets should help each other by sharing information between them. Online media websites are hiring freelancers to reduce their cost ;)

  • Sofia Hernandez

    It used to be a decent and respected job. Right now, nobody cares about journalists :D

  • Sam Hunter

    The newspaper industry is suffering...... This is horrifying...............

  • Daniel Naranjo

    The thing is, journalism should be free to everyone. Media should find a way to stop rewarding greed, and start rewarding quality articles.

  • Todd Yonder

    Every newspaper is becoming a "Buzzfeed". No more click baits and the media industry should be fine. BBN Times is one of the few websites where the titles are genuine and the content is serious ;) I have also noticed that the majority of the contributors are professionals and not journalists. This could be the beginning of a shift in the mindset of the online media industry.

  • Caleb Poirier

    Journalism in the 1970s used to be about solving murders, giving first hand accounts of the Cold War and reporting interesting stories. Nowadays, the top 10 episodes of LOST and why you shouldn't eat a pineapple pizza are the most shared articles........

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Rima Amin

Society Guru

Rima is an associate campaigns and membership advisor at Change.org. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from City University London. She previously held the role of president and chair of the trustee board of its University Students’ Union. 

   

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