6. Devaluation of certain types of journalism –
If a reader wants a book review most will go to Amazon. Music? Your social networks, Last.fm, iTunes or MySpace. Sport – any forum. Anyone producing journalism in those or similar areas faces a real issue.
In point 6 – Bradshaw suggests that journalism, when it comes to reviews or opinions, are losing strength. I agree wholeheartedly with this (although it would have been better to use forums to make his point rather than Amazon reviews because they are a mixed bag of unreliable or one-sided complaints). The reason this point is important is simply because of the fact that although journalists are professional writers, when it comes to reviews, they are at a disadvantage because products that they review for a week or two cannot compare to forum reviewers that spend a lot more time with a product. Journalists also have the disadvantage of time pressure in which they cannot thoroughly focus on a product because there are other reviews to make or they need to be the first to post a review as soon as the product is released. And finally there is the simple fact that people trust the opinions of several others in a rating system rather than an opinion of a lone journalist.
The next point to discuss is:
4. Reduced cost of news gathering and production –
The technologies were dropping in price long before the Internet – satellite technologies , desktop publishing. But the web – and now mobile – technology has reduced the cost of news gathering, production and distribution to almost nil. And new tools are being made all the time that reduce the cost in time even further. When publishing is as easy as making a phone call, that causes problems for any business that has to maintain or pay debts on costly legacy production systems.
Now this point is a little misleading because it seems to suggest that online is a perfect profit for journalists. It is true that journalism online has reduced the cost of production and distribution to almost ‘nil’ but to say the cost of news gathering has been reduced to ‘nil’ seems a little too extreme. Journalists are still needed to not only gather news but also check it – this will always be the case whether online or not. Despite the fact that it is faster to check sources through the Internet, online sources have proven in the past to be too unreliable to rely solely on and checking online sources through other online sources has not always worked out (because both real news and false news can spread at an alarming rate and be presented as fact in more than one website). This unreliability has often resulted in many journalists that do not leave the comfort of their computer to be sued (especially in the area of celebrities in which false and true rumors are fused together). There is also the fact that even if online saves money on these factors – it struggles to actually make money itself. As my previous post suggested free news is always available and therefore makes it hard to make a strong profit out of and the idea of paywalls (paying to see news online) contradicts a journalist’s aim to have a large audience because people resort to free news sites instead. Journalists are spending less but also making less.