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. icon
    PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Building a Community

    "I'm not sure what the catalysts for that cultural shift were"

    I'm a little wary of the rose coloured recollections, but there's numerous things, I think. I'd suggest the following among others:

    Employment shifts - one person working while the rest of the family stay at home is largely a thing of the past, so obviously when people spend less time at home they spend less time in their immediate local area. Also, the increased rarity of stable long term jobs mean that people are more wary about putting down proper roots as they can often get laid off and need to move far away.

    Transportation - people more often don't live anywhere near where they work, which not only reduces time to participate with the local community but places a hard shift between the people they work with and the people they live near. If you're commuting an hour each way to work, that not only reduces the interaction at home but reduces the likelihood you'll spend the workday talking to anyone you live near.

    Economy - the effects of both of the above are increased by the fact that more and more people rent rather than buy. You likely invest more in a community when you know you'll be there for 20+ years than if you know you could be leaving the state next year.

    Communication - let's face it, a lot of people stuck in small communities often hate having to participate in those things. They may well do because they have to, but they would much rather seek out people who share their interests than have to suffer day after day dealing with people they have little in common with other than the area they live.

    Crime perception - while figures show that violent crime has decreased in most places since the 80s, the perception is that it's higher. That combined with greater knowledge of things like pedophiles leads parents to be less willing to let kids play outside and do the random dangerous crap that many of us did when we were kids, leading to less community mingling as a whole.

    There's also the idea that many of the things you mention were things people were forced into out of either peer pressure or boredom that people don't have as much of any more. If you can go online and talk to people about your actual interests rather than joining a general purpose social club in your area you'll do that instead, while if you don't live in a religious community you won't feel like you have to go to church, whereas previously you'd feel you have to whether you believed or not.

    Sadly, when it comes to local politics, it's too often the people who have nothing better to do or feel the need to preach to everybody else who get involved. The people with more interests and more open minds often don't bother.


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