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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

journalism's future « Previous | |Next »
April 9, 2012

In the Future of Journalism at Open Democracy Angela Philips argues that journalism is not in crisis. For her there is no problem with journalism going digital. That simply isn’t the issue.

She says:

The problem lies not in the journalism itself. It lies in the business models that are failing to support them. Journalism is struggling because the source of income they have depended on for over 150 years has started to desert them....In 2000- 2001 advertising revenue was buoyant and there were no major threats on the horizon. But within a very few years newspaper owners were starting to panic as audiences started to move towards the web. They rushed head-long online assuming (given the existing model) that advertising would follow them and that the reduced cost of distribution on line would cover them for the loss of the sale price of the newspaper. \What they hadn’t bargained for was that advertising would find other places to go and leave news adrift. Nor had they bargained for the collapse of advertising with the crash of 2008.

The newspaper mangers imagined a world in which new media could improve profits and they talked of ‘scale’, centralisation and of multi-skilling.

Phillips argues that journalism's future lies not in finding ways of doing away with journalists and journalism. Or about undermining the quality of what journalists should do. It lies in finding a way to get citizens not only to participate but also to pay for the journalism we all need.

She asks:

Why should payment require anything more than clicking yes to a button that asks us to pay a few pence to view an article? Smart payment systems that are not linked to personal data would really give the web back to the people who matter: the journalists, writers, musicians, app builders, animators and other creative people. Maybe the real reason why we cannot have a simple payments system, that doesn’t require complex and off-putting log-ins, is because that would prevent the big players from getting their hands on all that private data.

Smart advertising is all about us handing over information so that we can be manipulated into buying stuff we didn’t know we needed.

Phillips asks a very pertinent question: Is selling our data, our personal lives, the very heart of our private selves really better than paying in cash for the things we need?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:02 AM | | Comments (5)


It works it reverse for a lot of small businesses for newspaper advertising. At present things are tight so businesses that would not normally need to advertise or do only in a small way are forced to.
Real estate ads look to be down in papers but that is because houses are moving slowly. Trades and services ads are healthy. Retail ads are also with all papers having inserts.
Somewhere down the line when business improves and those that need to dont anymore it will get very tight for papers with all the new digital ways. They will have to adjust their charges then to meet the market or fall.
I can't comment on the journalistic imput. They are the monkeys. Sales people do the important work.

There is nothing about the quality of journalism. Isn't that a core issue as well? Why would we consumers pay for trash and misinformation ?

let's not forget media ownership: Australia's newspaper duopoly, where Murdoch and Fairfax have 90% of the readership between them.Doesn't the duopoly of the Australian print market damage journalism?

Are digital revenues increasing as people become used to paywalls? Are readers are also paying for tablet apps?

I think Philips' point about personal data is a very good one.

I have a mobile phone which I "recharge" by buying a voucher at a newsagent every now and then, and keying in the number on the voucher via my phone. When I've nearly used up my credit, I get a message saying it's time to buy another voucher. No personal data involved.

Why couldn't an online news source work the same way?