Reports of News's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
from the disintermediation-strikes-again dept
It has been impossible to miss the wave of stories chronicling the impending death of newspapers. Some have gone so far as to posit that a country without numerous newspapers will be a threat to original reporting because, traditionally, daily papers set much of the agenda for the rest of the media ecosystem. As newspapers go, there, too, goes much of media’s reporting ability, or so goes the argument.
But while the next couple years will undoubtedly bring much painful reorganization in news industry, at least one sector is showing success, and even growth. Wire services, who supply stories to newspapers, television and websites, are actually hiring. Even as the Wall Street Journal was laying off workers, Dow Jones newswire and Bloomberg were expanding. The market is so promising that CNN is jumping in, too. So, while newspapers continue down their troubled path, original reporting is finding a new way to reach the public.
And, if you think about it, this makes plenty of sense. The wire services provide news that can be used by multiple different publications — and for news outside of local communities, it makes some amount of sense to consolidate it down to a few competing wire services. Does every major American newspaper need a bureau in Russia? That’s a lot of inefficiency and duplication of effort. Having a few different wire services, enhanced with help from community members who can help lead the reporters to stories, can actually represent a much more efficient, but still quite useful, way of reporting on events. In many ways it’s the same disintermediation effect that we’ve seen in industry after industry — where the end result is a much more efficient machine which provides a better product for everyone.