But what’s really happening now?
For the last ten years we have heard the music industry cry foul about free downloading and online file sharing technology. Similarly, for the last five years the news industry has tirelessly warned of the perils of accessing online news for free as the death of journalism.
There are optimistic views of boundless opportunity and visions of a revolutionised media industry. Also, there have been very pessimistic views about dwindling news rooms and shonky flawed journalism.
While both versions have been actualised, its very interesting to look at which publications are thriving and what they’ve done to restructure their business models. “But same digital dynamics that have created a crisis also offer an emerging and still under-appreciated set of solutions.” (Mele & Wihbey, 2013)
Upon reading ‘The newsonomics of Pulitzers and paywalls’ it surprised me to learn that only 20% of overall expense is devoted to the news room. “We can also see in the data that newspapers overall are spending a smaller percentage of their overall expenses on their newsrooms than they were 10 years ago.” (Doctor, 2013)
Firstly, it seemed it was the traditional and otherwise complacent publishing organizations that seemed to frame the changing industry with the most doom and gloom. “Many legacy news outlets have, in the Internet world, become a bunch of increasingly empty, faceless brands.” (Mele & Wihbey, 2013)
Ignoring the public demand for quality content while undercutting newsrooms will be a massive loss of opportunity. “The Star Tribune is one of a relative few that made a point of keeping its reporting staff as whole as possible. It disproportionately made its newsroom cuts in copy handling and middle management in order to do that.” (Doctor, 2013)
Yet publications that already took pride in producing quality content and award winning articles were also the ones who remained the most proactive in navigating this new funding territory.
“There have been cuts, yes, but we have also added to our ranks, particularly in the areas of multimedia producers, videographers, graphics editors, etc.,” says Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy.” (Doctor, 2013)
It seems that for now loyal reader revenue is sustaining the quality news rooms who respect their readers and show this by providing quality services; with The Times now taking more reader dollars than advertising ones.
You’re not JUST supplying a basic product to a consumer who needs or mindlessly consumes it. The normal business models have long been on the out, now you’re dealing with a connected reader one who can pick diamonds from dust.
“The question then becomes how to create a social presentation layer that wraps around news — preserving the integrity of the product but updating its interface to fit with human behavior in the digital age.” (Mele & Wihbey, 2013)
Doctor, K. (2013) ‘The newsonomics of Pulitzers, paywalls, and investing in the newsroom’ Nieman Journalism Lab. Available: http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/04/the-newsonomics-of-pulitzers-paywalls-and-investing-in-the-newsroom/ (Date accessed: 20/04/13)
Mele, N. & Wihbey, J. (2013) ‘The end of big (media): When news orgs move from brands to platforms for talent’ Available: http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/04/the-end-of-big-media-when-news-orgs-move-from-brands-to-platforms-for-talent/ (Date Accessed: 20/04/13)