What’s The Value of Good Journalism?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If newspapers are to survive, a keen look at what their value is will be required. Other media outlets – radio, TV, and especially the internet – have stolen the focus from papers. This has caused the media world to cannibalize itself by offering free online media. With such an option, what reasons do patrons have to purchase physical newspapers?

Ben Fenton of FinancialTimes.com reports on such a question. More importantly, he reports on one media icon, Sir Martin Sorrell’s, suggestions.

Sir Sorrell, CEO of WWP Group, strongly believes that newspapers must adapt their strategies to the common era. Sir Sorrell spoke at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge and mentions three things the newspaper industries around the globe must do to remain pertinent:
• Find a way to put paid-for content on the internet
• Consolidate more titles
• Most importantly, find some form of subsidy for “preserving good journalism.”

These are very interesting idea. Though Sir Sorrell is surely not the first to have such ideas, a prominent figure presenting them at such an event could have a large impact on the industry.

I find particularly interesting the idea of subsidizing “good journalism.” With free media ever-present at the readers’ fingertips via mobile devices and home computers, will we the readers soon be getting what we’re paying for?

It is a scary thought. With no one paying journalists, they cannot continue working and writing quality stories. What checks and balances does our modern society have to preserve good journalism in the future?

Image compliments of guardian.co.uk.


David Wiley September 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM  

This goes along a similar thought process that I had in my comment on Megan's blog. The "good journalism" will become nonexistent unless the paid world of journalism finds its niche to thrive in. That may mean that they eliminate newspapers completely and go to paid online subscription.

The casual reader of the news is unlikely to take the time to check sources presented in a story, or even assure the story is likely. I would not be surprised if some would believe a Tsunami hit Des Moines and killed thousands. They assume that the information being presented to them is accurate.

When the primary news source becomes citizen journalists via blogs, tweets, and Facebook feeds the country will be in trouble of losing good journalism. Anyone can report anything, without any evidence backing up the story, and people will not only believe it but also spread it through word of mouth to others. In other words, news will become gossip and as credible as the supermarket tabloids.

I would hate to live in that world. I sincerely hope that Sir Martin Sorrell, and others, can help prevent us from losing good journalism in this world.

Megan Evans September 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM  

I agree with David completely on this, and thought about the "robots" writing when reading Mike's blog also. People are beginning to take everything they read as fact, and if there are not competent and committed journalists relaying the stories we could be in a very scary place. It is what journalism is about, getting accurate and pertinent information to people. I think paying for even portions of an on-line news source is a great start, but even that is more than most will do given the countless other options they have to get the news for free from other sources. Implementing creative ways to generate money on these sites may be the only hope of preserving the standards I think we all hope will continue to be the standards of the future.

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