[caption width="500" id="attachment_1183" align="alignnone"] Photo by Nick Ryan, Fairfax[/caption]
The slow-motion death of newspapers as a vehicle for quality journalism rolls on, with periodic announcements of new waves of redundancies prompting anger, soul-searching and recrimination.
For those of us who escaped the industry years ago, there are feelings of both relief that we got out when we did and sympathy for journalists laid off by companies who still appear clueless about how to make the business work in a digital age.
But while the journalists' mass walkouts and calls for public solidarity are completely understandable, the market realities facing the industry that has sheltered them for long can't be ignored.(more…)
Journalism isn't really a profession, much as some of its practitioners proclaim it to be. It's much closer to being a trade or a craft. And like all crafts, success in journalism is usually achieved by getting not just one thing, but a number of small but critical things right. These small things include spelling people's names correctly, accurately reporting what people said, answering all the key questions like who, what, where, when and how, and, most of all, repeatedly asking 'why'. It's the 'why' thing that's falling down most right now. (more…)
Why does the media routinely "commemorate" the anniversary of major news events like the Lindt Cafe siege with blanket over-the-top coverage? Is it out of respect for the victims? Or is it about money and ratings? The news presenters put on their grave faces for these anniversaries and roll out the boilerplate emoting. "It changed our lives forever....a day imprinted in our memories", Producers with lots of time on their hands roll out the slow-mo and Barber's adagio. (more…)
A perennial tension in journalism arises from balancing the professional requirement to accurately inform the public and the commercial one to actively engage them. The destruction of media business models, where classified advertising subsidised across a Chinese wall the quality journalism that attracted the eyeballs, has gradually swung that balance from the professional to the commercial imperatives. (more…)
One consequence of the death of the mainstream media's business model and the commodification of news is a corresponding increased reliance on provocative commentary that generates page impressions. News Corp's Andrew Bolt is the poster child for the success of professional trollery as a revenue generator and brand differentiator. He has clear targets, strong opinions and he succinctly expresses them. He has a fiercely loyal audience and equally fierce enemies who despise him with similar force. Bolt is now parlaying this approach of calculated outrage on commercial television. And good luck to him. (more…)