Techdirt Podcast Episode 201: Can Journalism Survive A Free Market?

from the no-business-like-news-business dept

It's no secret that journalism outfits are struggling, and have been for some time. There are lots of competing ideas about why this is the case, and who to blame, but the ultimate question is the same: how do we fund good journalism going forward? This week, Mike is joined on the podcast by someone whose opinions on this question differ significantly from his own — Columbia Journalism professor and former online editor-in-chief of the Guardian Emily Bell — to talk about whether journalism can survive the free market, and what the alternatives are.

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Filed Under: business models, economics, emily bell, journalism, podcast

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  1. identicon
    Personanongrata, 26 Feb 2019 @ 3:07pm

    You Have to Give the People What they Want*

    During the interview there was a lot to talk about Facebook and Google siphoning advertising revenue away from legacy media outlets. FYI the legacy media was losing advertising revenue long before Facebook and Google became relevant on the intertubes.

    When a reporter becomes beholden to the persons/entities they base their reporting on in order to gain favorable treatment and access they are no longer a journalist they have genuflected into the realm of sycophancy.

    What came first journalists or media outlets?

    Does a journalist need a media outlet to survive? Ask Sy Hersh

    Does a media outlet need a journalist to survive? Ask BuzzFeed

    When a reader peruses a media outlets finished product the reader needs to be assured that the information imparted within has been properly sourced/vetted.

    Unfortunately all to often legacy media outlets publish reports that are not factual (ie Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, acting as government stenographers in transcribing talking points as factual analysis, Trump Russian stooge hoax, human CO2 released since industrial revolution is mechanism for climate change on Earth, etc).

    To ask users to pay to read/watch/listen to poorly sourced reports or jazzed up government talking points (ie propaganda) is a non-starter.

    All successful businesses have one common denominator:

    They all give their customers what they want - that is the secret to their success.

    People will happily pay for something they desire.

    If you serve steaming piles of shit in lieu of candy your customers will not be back for seconds.

    Many of today's legacy media outlets are dinosaurs of a bygone era they just do not realize it. Prior to the internet the legacy media had a complete monopoly on reporting the news they acted as gatekeepers. No longer do they have the luxury of being the sole source for local/regional/national/international news they must compete across the entire news medium spectrum and they are failing brilliantly.

    What will replace them?

    Which came first journalists or media outlets?

    Why do journalists report? Profit? Accuracy? Accountability?

    * A big thanks to the Kinks

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