Never have we had so much choice in terms of news, information, music and entertainment. The democratisation of production brought by digital technology has made it easier than ever for people to create content, but it has also made it more difficult than ever to get paid to create it. This cannot last.
In a recent piece for The Media Briefing in the UK, I ask the question about which newspapers will survive. It is doubtless that newspapers are under pressure right now, but after nearly two years managing a group of small newspapers for Gannett, I realised that there are actually some newspapers that have a real fighting chance to survive. What things do they have in common?
Local print journalism is challenge right now for fairly obvious reasons. Print is declining, and while digital audiences are rising for many local outlets, a local audience does not reach the scale of the internet giants or digital news start-ups. We have to develop business models that don’t rely on scale.
The week before Christmas was the 107th anniversary for one of the papers I edit, the Sheboygan Press. We decided to create a vintage stye commemorative edition using stories from throughout more than century of history. It was fun and novel, and it was a big hit with readers and our advertisers.
If Facebook and journalism had a relationship, it would be: It’s complicated. David Higgerson urged “journalism … to get over its fear of Facebook“. He wrote: Facebook is huge, and needs to remain huge. To do that, it needs to remain relevant to users. It needs to ensure it doesn’t alienate people. That, in turn, is good news for journalists… Read more →
I’ve long been a fan of Alan Mutter aka Newsosaur, and I think that he’s right that the biggest impact for news organisations in Apple’s recent announcements is its mobile payment technology. This has the potential to take the mobile revolution to an entirely new level, and news organisations need to take advantage of this and create frictionless ways to take part in m-commerce.
Jay Rosen ties together some of the trends happening right now in digital journalism, such as the launch of deep dive digital news sites. These sites are heading 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the generalist bundles like the newspaper and news channels. When people entirely new to it ask me what’s the best way to get going in… Read more →
This is the paradox of journalism in the digital age: Journalism organisations reach more people than was ever possible in the analogue age, but those larger audiences have not translated into higher revenues. Some of this has been almost constant pressure of digital ad revenues since the beginning of the financial crisis, driven by an oversupply of ad space. Digital… Read more →
The discussion around paid content in journalism has moved on from the silly, binary free versus paid discussion to a sense that journalism has always been paid for by a mix of revenue from advertisers and revenue from readers. That mix is changing and is quite fluid at the moment. As some news groups ask people to pay for content they used to receive for free, leaders in those groups will have to ask: Will consumers see a change from free to paid as simply a change in price or a change in their relationship to news organisations? Consumers will accept one but reject, often with disastrous results, the other.
Since the arrival of digital media, most of the innovation has been focused on the editorial side of the business, while the advertising side of the business has largely stuck to pre-digital models like display advertising. Now, we’re starting to see real innovation on the ad side at news organisations. Can it turn around the flagging fortunes of news organisations?