“Existential Crisis Facing News Media Companies Today” Arnab Neil Sengupta, Al Jazeera, 8 October 2016

“It may well be that the print journalist's days are numbered, but the career prospects seem scarcely any brighter for journalists across the media spectrum who cannot imagine reinventing themselves as aid-agency officers, PR executives or full-time novelists”.

The digital age has weakened traditional print media in a way that television and radio couldn’t. Print ads are less sought after than ever and digital ads produce less revenue, and worse of all, there is no perfect solution. In this turmoil, other forms of journalism are losing ground too; even the oft-hailed only “digital” strategy isn’t as successful as we’d hoped.  The media landscape is increasingly defined by fractionalization and confirmation bias, all while real journalists are under-funded. Gatekeepers of news like Facebook and Google don’t offer a solution to the problem, and actually serve to disseminate stories focusing on personalities and controversies rather than in-depth journalism. This could deprive citizens who suffer from crime, corruption and incompetence of journalism’s role as the “fourth estate” or the watchdog of government and business. National and international news organizations could run more homogeneous stories, and shy away from long-form investigative news. This could disproportionately affect countries with less responsive (or corrupt) governments, who would otherwise ignore citizens complaints. With the media business model bleak, it will be difficult to attract enough intelligent reporters to the business. The digital age hasn’t been as beneficial to journalists as predicted, and a Harvard report found fewer readers are spending time reading articles on mobile devices. Online-first doesn’t have to be the death of legacy media, but if they aren’t able to adapt like they have before,  it will be all of society --not just journalists-- who are pining for the “good old days” of journalism.

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“Existential Crisis Facing News Media Companies Today” Arnab Neil Sengupta, Al Jazeera, 8 October 2016

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