Change in Journalism

Posted on May 6th, 2008 in Driving Emotion,Opinion by Julian Edgar

An interesting ABC TV Media Watch this week  on the future of journalism. (See it here.)

I guess it’s particularly fascinating to me, as AutoSpeed this year reaches the ripe old age of ten. For close to a decade (and so two-thirds of the time the Web has existed!) my full-time job as a journalist and editor has been working for this specialist website.

These days, like probably many of you, I read all my ‘newspapers’ on line and watch most of my ‘TV’ online.  (Inverted commas because they’re not really ‘newspapers’ and ‘TV’ are they?)

So what do you think of the future of newspapers (and of course, by implication, magazines)? And what do you think of the very important point made by the presenter that quality journalism needs a financial model that in the past has relied on the huge advertising revenues generated by newspaper classifieds?

One point that I think the program missed is that the breadth and reach of the web allows far narrower targeting of audiences, so making viable media that would otherwise not exist. I am quite sure that if the audience for AutoSpeed was limited to just a country like Australia, it would be too small to make AutoSpeed viable.

But what is the future of newspapers and magazines? What forms will (and should) automotive and popular journalism take?

5 Responses to 'Change in Journalism'

Subscribe to comments with RSS

  1. Howard said,

    on May 6th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I find most magazines over priced for what they offer. Typically the same old same old. Why pay for the kind of reading I’m looking for, when I’ve found enormous information on forums and on here? Granted there is sometime misleading stuff on forums, but the same can be said for a lot of media. Forums also aren’t always trying to sell you something or disguise a supposed impartial product review as nothing more than an addvert that they’ve sold pages for instead of putting in useful articles.
    The best forum contributors are also the most passionate about what they do and are generous with detailed photos and information.
    You can smell a ‘proffesional journalists’ a mile away. The catch phraises, technical inaccuracies and lacking impartialism stinks.
    Friends also tell of reduced magazine buying.
    Higher wages and other production costs don’t help to sell more magazines. Not when the price goes up and the content is largely the same or replaced with even more adds.
    I personally haven’t bought a magazine in over 12 months, when I use to buy 2 or 3 a month. I rarely by newspapers, especially not a major 1. It’s like watching a rerun of the news (and I don’t go out of my way for that, either).
    I believe that more media will be sold/provided via the internet. Lower running costs, faster distribution, wider audiance.
    Nothing stays the same forever.

  2. Marty said,

    on May 6th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Some friends and I make short videos about car modification. User generated content is the ‘buzz’ word at the moment and the net allows us, like Autospeed, to reach a wide audience even though dealing with quite small audience (D.I.Y car enthusiasts)

    We don’t have massive advertising budgets ($0 budgets) so we have to be more creative to make the videos educational and enjoyable for the viewer. Weather or not this ‘dumbs down’ the kind of information that is around isn’t really an issue as the internet has been dumbing down information for years and no-one except the encyclopedia publishers seem too worried!

  3. Led_blind said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    You know, there is only so much ‘information’ out there. As an earlier poster noted, you buy a magazine, that cost more than a paper back novel, only to re-read the same ideas again and again. I think this has been the real downfall of the printed magazine, that is the inability to keep providing new ‘information’

    As for me, i have little interest in purchasing any print media. Having been an internet news reader I find that if you can gather the same report from several different news ‘sources’ you can pick out the bias and start to see the real news. Buy an news paper and all you get is that media outlets point of view or political bias or worse pay for a tabloid full of adverts… why bother.

    On the flip side, the internet’s ease of access now allows anyone interested to create, this is both good and bad. The bad is easily seen when a site like craigs list is used maliciously.

    At the end of the day, any factual information I find on the net MUST contain references that i can follow, that are from reputable sources. For example, all medical studies from the USA are biased by Pharma bias… EU AU and UK health studies tend to include less bias.

    Anyway, for me, the ultimate online delivery will allow the viewer\reader\listener if they so chose to hear a completely un-edited version of events. It will also allow that person to stop at a point they do not understand and from there be pointed to references that will get them up to speed.

    Open and Transparent is what i like. Unfortunately the trend of today is the opposite.

  4. Gordon Drennan said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    The thing that got me about that Media watch was that the presenter gave as his example of “quality journalism” being able to have a big Canberra bureau. At that point he proved that he, and the mainstream media, have lost touch with readers/viewers. In any job you have to ask three questions, what is my product, who is my customer and what do they value. And car magazines have decided that their customer is the car manufacturers, and their product is readers who are happy to buy what the car manufacturers want to sell. And the ABC has decided their customer is the ALP, and their product is viewers who are happy to buy ALP policies. They see us out in viewer/reader land as raw materials to be processed into product rather than customers to be served. Look at NSW now. More than 75% of the public don’t want the electricity system privatised. Who does? The politicians and the media. Big media does provide the resources to do big long-term expensive journalism projects – you couldn’t do a tyre test or comparison test of half a dozen cars – but as soon as you put a whole lot of journalists together they listen to what each other think, and what whoever is paying for their lunch wants, not us.

  5. James Wade said,

    on May 19th, 2008 at 10:40 am


    You miss the point.

    The media is no longer the fourth pillar of government. The media are now simply selling a product.

    And that is a shame.

    Look at This is a broadsheet paper, supposed to be pretty much ‘high brow’. What are the headlines on the front page:

    “Like walking a tightrope’

    Child porn viewed in Qantas lounge

    Aussie dollar surges to 24-year high

    Student dies in head-on smash

    Brew-haha over council’s ‘white witch'”

    I rest my case.