Are newspapers dying? What is the future of journalism? Where will the media make its revenue? Is this the end of quality journalism?
These questions have been going round and round for years now and it feels like we are still no closer to an answer. This discussion from Essential Vision’s 3Q has Fairfax’s Stuart Washington throwing more thoughts in to the mix.
This by no means articulates any clear answers but it does give us more food for thought. For example, have big corporations whose empires are built on newspapers been lost in nostalgia?
Or as Peter Lewis from Essential Media Communications points out, research shows we are getting most of news free from aggregators, so why aren’t they charging them?
Clearly the transition from paper to digital is well and truly on, and big corporations like News Ltd and Fairfax are trying to catch up quick. Yet still there is no clear answer as to how you make readers (and viewers) pay for good journalism online. However as Washington points out, John Birmingham made the poignant observation that we may not actually want it anyway.
And when you have strong journalism from the ABC in the mix, which by their charter will continue to disseminate it for free it is hard to make readers pay.
So this is where journalists need to step up and own their brand. If you are a strong journalist, with a following your audience will pay to read or watch what you have to say. I recently renewed my subscription to crikey for that very reason.
For too long it has been easy for journalists to hide behind a network or masthead, yet now with the prevalence of social media this is no longer the case. Journalists as a brand are company assets and need to be exploited, promoted and even set their own targets.