The main cause of the demise of newspapers, according to Wolff, is the arrival of CraigsList and other sites like it. In a debate with the CraigsList's Craig Newmark, he argued that classified adds are what 'supported newspapers for 100 years' and now with CraigsList, which he says is more efficient and free, newspapers are losing their auto, real estate, job and other service advertisements to the web. This accusation is definitely not new and has been discessed [sic] for years since CraigsList started in 1995.
And I would also agree that bloggers cannot ever replace the news-gathering function of professional reporters.
No, what bloggers can do is battle it out in the ruins after Journageddon with the professional pundit class. After all, quality-wise there is a definite over-lap between the top tier of bloggers and the lower rung of columnists. In fact, I suspect you could create a computer program that replicated the ink emissions from Quebecor's (T.O. Sun) stable of scribblers.
And, remember, we bloggers are already used to working for free.
So, if you earn your meals by cranking out your "views" on this or that issue, there's going to be alot of Kraft dinner in your future.
I lament the disappearance of newspapers, particularly given the role they play within communities.
Until I moved to CBC television I had no real appreciation for how limited, even trivial broadcast journalism is. The whole "infotainment" dimension of it was made at least bearable by the presence of print alternatives.
I gave up watching television news altogether back when Mansbridge had hair and Lloyd Robertson was still on his third embalming.
The only pain I'm experiencing is over how long this is taking.
For many newspapers, advertisements amount to 80% of the revenue; only 20% is based on subscriptions and customers buying the papers at the stores.
I actually do not believe there is a business model to support quality journalism anymore. Consumer capitalism, which requires a high degree of confusion around needs, desires, fantasies and delusions, cannot sustain an activity, the goal of which is to uncover truth, because that works against its own interests.
It is totally true BCL. Out in my community I am hearing it daily that people are having plenty of luck hiring through CraigsList because they get so many candidates. In fact some are saying they get more from CraigsList than the local paper. Having never used CraigsList to find a job myself its still an unknown to me but I have used UsedVictoria several times now with success.
"I actually do not believe there is a business model to support quality journalism anymore."
I can't disagree, but what do you think of The Real News as an economic model?
Electronic media will probably always be restrained by the nature of the visual medium. There is a myriad of problems that pose serious limitations. You may be content to read a four page magazine article but there are few who would watch a talking head go through that much text.
Maybe news magazines will be the final bastion of quality, print journalism. We'll lose the immediacy of newspapers (does anyone remember when top papers would distribute three editions daily?) and we'll lose most of the local and civic content but, barring the development of some alternate source of financing, local newspapers don't have much of a future.
As far as "news" reporting, it will ALL shift to the online version. I can read news on my iPhone (or other mobile device) instantaneously. CTV Newsnet seems to post day old news (or older) all the time. TV news in general is pretty "old". Even the "new" story is a few hours old. Forget newspapers - they can't give you "current" info, when you get newer info via specialty news channels, and the web...
I think you'll see a phasing out of the network news (except those who do it well - like CBC). Specialty "all news" channels will rule the TV, and Newstalk radio will be the "next big thing" as far as paid for media goes.
Yeah... I said radio. Don't count it out yet. People are increasingly mobile, whether by car/commuting/traveling, or by jogging with their iPod. When they want info, they can listen to news radio. Even in office settings, radio is still very acceptable. TV may suffer with losses to the net, but radio will persevere. The media conglomerates will soon be flooding the radio airwaves.
The "opinion" in major dailies pretty much only exist for papers to tell the world THEIR own corporate opinion of the world around them. This duty will end up on all news channels, the radio, or in the hands of supposedly "independent" bloggers being paid by the news agencies.
Part of the problem with getting "timely" and "fresh/as-it-happens" info from TV is the issue with production quality/values. A story (supposedly) has to be edited, cut, etc. to reach the air.
The internet provides raw footage, as it happens, from someone's phone cam.
TV Networks will probably get more and more "raw" with their reporting, but the challenge remains that their corporate overlords still want the polished, net-work-approved/corporate-approved version of the news, and this censorship/bleaching takes time. Their need to play nanny, sell sex ("glossy" reporters looking all primped and proper) will be their loss. I could be as ugly as butt, but you'll watch my Youtube video of a heroic rescue from a burning building, if I post it "as it happens", rather than waiting for the 6 o'clock news...
I can't disagree, but what do you think of The Real News as an economic model?
I'm not optimistic.
I only see two ways forward; either we come to some kind of consensus that a healthy democracy and market economy requires publicly-supported journalism and we fund it adequately (and keep it at arms length from government) or that reporting simply becomes a function of research and communications resourced and generated by government, think tanks, NG0's, corporations, academia, public institutions, watch groups etc. the work from which will be discussed and evaluated by the rest of us in venues such as this.
I don't like that last eventuality all that much, because each one of these institutions will have real reasons to avoid being candid, will probably waste a lot of our time and won't do anything about the fracturing of the mass media into smaller niches that appeal to smaller, less relevant, less influential audiences.
It'd be great, if Western Grit was right and the decline in newspapers brought radio back to the fore. In terms of engaging an audience, radio is far superior to television any day. Television forces the viewer to sort through spoken and visual information and while they sometimes complement each other, video can overwhelm the narrative.
CBC's best programming is on their radio networks. Their "Ideas" series is an example of just how well radio is suited to transmitting intricate subjects. A skilled journalist can be more effective on radio because he/she can actually reach the listener's imagination in a way that a literal television news item never can.
I'm not sure that internet journalism can ever be effective. Whether it's the town newspaper or the local TV station, these core media outlets serve as something of a public square - a place where the public gathers to receive information. The web-based media lack that essential focusing power which means they're far better suited to narrow interest groups that will seek them out among all the rest. That actually defeats the whole idea of diversity. Libs congregate around liberal sites, Cons around conservative sites and so on... all of us in our respective isolation wards. That really filters out diversity of opinion.
CBC's best programming is on their radio networks.It's even better now with podcasts. I just wish copyright issues didn't prevent the CBC from making more of it available in that format.
I love radio because you can do something else while you listen to it and the lack of irrelevant visual stimulus makes it less distracting.
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