For years now, everyone has talked about the end of journalism.
The obituary on newspapers has been written and re-written numerous times.
“The industry is changing so fast that the pundits and prognosticators are merely guessing at what it all means and where the industry is going,” said Timothy Boudreau, a journalism professor (and my old faculty adviser) at Central Michigan University. “And they’re usually wrong.”
The failure to create a viable digital platform for advertising and subscriptions combined with the democratization of journalism — the ability for anyone to document the news — and the convergence of print, broadcast and digital news outlets has created a crisis within journalism.
Just about everyone in journalism has made the transition from being just a newspaper to being a multimedia news outlet. Some have done it better than others have, but now pretty much all reporters are commenting on Twitter, sharing photos on Facebook and updating stories between print editions through a blog.
All of this content means there is more chronicling of current events today than at any other time in the recorded history of mankind. But this begs the question: If the public has an appetite for news then why are newspapers struggling to keep the printing presses going?
Until a few years ago, making money off journalism was easy: Newspapermen charged a nominal fee for each newspaper and filled the pages with advertising, including cheap classifieds. Today this model is unworkable.
More people are reading and consuming news than ever before, but paying journalists to gather facts and report what happened so someone can eventually share it on Facebook is expensive. Above all, it requires a paying customer, which can be difficult when local classifieds are disappearing and 15-plus years of giving away news content for free has made it difficult to grow digital subscriptions.The full column will be posted once the newspaper publishes.
— Dennis Lennox