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Is Journalism Fighting Back?

Is Journalism Fighting Back?

Last week we briefly touched on how brand journalism and other content strategy tactics were taking over from the traditional news values of a journalist. If you have read last weeks' post, abandoned all hope, thrown your copy of The Universal Journalist in the bin and vowed to never even look at a journalist again, then we're afraid you've jumped the gun, because journalism is not going down without a fight.


Traditional Sources

Whilst most of the daily newspapers in the UK, like The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and numerous others experience dwindling paper sales over the course of a few years, there has been a surge in other print publications. Newspapers like The i (currently 30p) and in Scotland The National (50p) are relatively young in comparison to established names such as The Daily Post or The Times.

Like any product, it would appear that cost plays a significant role in the sales of newspapers.The readership of some free newspapers has grown as paid outlets suffer. Metro has a readership of over 1.3 million. It makes its money through advertising, with the newspaper able to charge a large price for advertising due to their sizeable readership. Therefore it is arguable that although traditional paid publications have suffered, people still want to have a physical copy of a newspaper but at a lower cost.

Has New Technology Killed Journalism?

The internet has been a significant player in the demise of some printed publications. The Guardian had a printed readership of around 189,000 as of June 2014, yet it had a global online reach of over 9 million. Whilst those buying a newspaper have a physical copy of articles, those on social media or visiting the newspapers' website could have read the same story at no cost. Furthermore those with a printed version only have news stories from before the print deadline the previous evening, those reading online have access to content just written, the minute it is published. People don't want to read yesterday's news in a newspaper when they could get this minute's on their phone or tablet.

As well as websites, social media has led to a radical shift in the way news is consumed. People are being informed instantly through their mobile. On a commute, you're more likely to see someone checking Facebook, Twitter, reading an article online or in Metro than you are to see someone with a paid publication.

Whilst some argue that the internet has killed journalism, there are many examples that prove that it has allowed journalism to flourish.

With digital reporting now complimenting the traditional printed press, newspaper companies
have cut costs. One of the major ways media outlets have cut costs is through drastically
cutting investigative journalism budgets. However out of the cuts and demise of long form articles, the world of journalism has responded and evolved.

The Birth of ProPublica

Whilst publications have fallen by the wayside, some entrepreneurs and media companies have seized upon the demise of the traditional press to create well respected, digital news outlets.

It could be argued that sites such as ProPublica have provided us with a glimpse of the future, with the multi-Pulitzer award winning site changing the way investigative and long form journalism is consumed. Founded in 2007 to compensate for the decreasing amount of investigative journalism in the printed press, ProPublica is, in it's own words, "an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest". This well respected site has continued to grow and has become one of the most respected sites in the investigative media world.

We can see from models such as ProPublica and The Huffington Post that journalism is adapting on digital platforms. ProPublica is well respected not only amongst readers, but also media peers, having worked with organisations such as NPR, The Washington Post, CNN and Newsweek.

It is this digital platform that is arguably leading not to the death of traditional types of journalism, but rather a rebirth of long form and investigative journalism. Originally shunned from newspapers in order to cut costs, investigative journalism has evolved and found a home in the digital sphere. It is through the success of online journalism like Serial (see our blog posts on the phenomenon here and here), and the New York Time's Snow Fall, that show that investigative journalism is not only evolving, but making the most of it's new home to flourish.

By using a different platforms from traditional press, sites such as ProPublica are adapting to the revolutionary way people are obtaining news. Despite claims that journalism is dying, Propublica and The Huffington Post have fast become trusted leaders in the digital age of journalism.

Why Journalism Won't Die

As more journalists turn to creating content for brands and PR companies, it could be argued that journalism is not dying but rather evolving into new areas to survive.

The main reason that journalism is still going strong, and is still no way near the demise predicted by some, is due to the fact that millions of journalists working in PR, advertising and more, still write like a journalist, still fact check like a journalist and still pride themselves on being a journalist.

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