A few weeks ago I was in a discussion with a friend deliberating the future of newspapers. The Journalism industry currently has the challenge of a changing media landscape; including falling budgets (mostly due to shifts in advertising caused by readership), style of commentary (the idea of stand-up comedians being the new columnist) and the confusion of a homogenous audience (the thin line between local and national). Naturally such discourse led onto finding solutions in the digital age and much bartering of abuse to the much delusional Rupert Murdoch regarding his Newspaper pay wall decisions.
Hope anchored to the Amazon Kindle (Amazon affiliate link), an eBook reader which not only has the ability to store books but also provides monthly newspaper subscriptions. Although in discussion it became clear that the value of news is in danger of being dismissed due to the contemporary news models being adopted.
Each morning I make my way to the local station to travel up to London for work. The journey entails a path involving the avoidance of Metro, London Lite, thelondonpaper and Shortlist on Thursday mornings. Never would I have thought that a hand-out on London pavements would be a gift, something worth keeping but psychologically this might be the problem.
We are so used to news being free. The mere act of newspapers being handed out freely on the pavements is a statement to us that news doesn’t have to cost. Yet the value of news in terms of accuracy, speed and delivery is being questioned by the very industry beginning to consider extended advertising options to keep publications free and readership levels up. I’m the consumer the newspaper industry must hate; I won’t even pick up a free newspaper, let alone buy a copy of The Times or The Guardian. The only content I touch is digital.
Glance away from the physical paper, from ink stained fingers to the soft touch of backlit LCD. Online content is a threat to Journalism, paraded by BBC News and the evolution of Citizen Journalism. On the whole online news content is mostly free of charge, there are exceptions.
Most of the news I consume is through The Guardian’s iPhone App. This convenient app allows me to select categories of the news I find most important (Headlines, Technology, Culture, Features and Obituaries in my case). On many occasions Twitter has been a useful source of news information. Through Twitter I discovered about Michael Jackson’s death before BBC News had the full details of the story.
Monetisation models for music downloads have led to subscription services rather than individual song costs. Is news heading the same way? Will readers ever pay for news content?