“Publishers and Journalists Must Work Together to Save Journalism” Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, 23 September 2016

“Cutbacks have been the reality of the news trade… for the best part of 20 years at national, regional and local level. The cause, as we all know, is the onward march of the digital revolution (...) In recognising the crisis, publishers and journalists must work together to find a solution.”

Due to the fast moving digital revolution, cutbacks by newspaper publishers have become more frequent. Journalists and publishers do not pursue similar objectives. Also, publishers can not be referred to as a unit. Profit-seeking publishers are not the same as prestige-seeking publishers, who pursue political influence and propaganda. Neither are they similar to newspaper publishers who seek to defend their journalistic rights and liberal principles (against commercial and political influence). Regardless of the varying aims, publishers are unable to evade the commercial impacts of the technological revolution. Journalists know this, but they ignore it and condemn publishers for the cutbacks. However, this does not overshadow the fact that both  have to guarantee the existence of  “the product” for as long as possible. Journalists do not appreciate that journalism now has more audience than it had before the Internet was invented. The withdrawal from face-to-face, eyewitness reporting and the decrease of the number of journalists is their primary worry. Journalism is in drastic retrenchment, as much more can be achieved using computers. There is a distinction to be made between journalism as business and journalism as a public service. This is the logic behind journalists and publishers pursuing dissimilar objectives. Reporters are too expensive and publishers employ a few or no reporters. Reporters face the undermining of their profession and the destruction of public service. Reporters spend a lot of time on their research, but if they produce a good story, publishers are reluctant to buy it. The story might improve the newspaper, but commercially “reporters are not worth it”. These are the ones, not the “desk-bound journalists”, that are retrenched. When laid off with them goes the most powerful and useful public service. Immensely profitable and capable new media organizations gain from the journalism they endorse. But if no one supplies content, what will happen? Thus journalists and publishers have to work together to discover a way out.

 

 

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“Publishers and Journalists Must Work Together to Save Journalism” Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, 23 September 2016

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