The crisis in journalism


Deciding on a career in journalism today may seem a little like deciding on a career as a blacksmith in 1920. Newspapers all over the world are losing huge sums of money as readers stop buying “printouts of yesterday’s news” and get their news online for free.

The crisis isn’t confined to print journalism. Most news organisations have attempted to be multi-platform for several years now, and if the print edition closes, the online edition will be left without a steady income.

Television news, too, is in crisis. Independent broadcasters like ITV and Channel 4 in the UK have seen their advertising income diminish hugely, and are left struggling to afford their traditional news output. You need only look at Five’s “Live From Studio Five” (which counts as a “news” programme and is produced for Five by Sky news) to see standards slipping. Meanwhile, ITV is struggling to provide regional news.

The BBC, funded by the licence fee, is insulated from some of the problems, but is also seen by some as one of the root causes of the crisis. The BBC provides news for free — not just to the UK but the whole world, if they care to visit — which means that other news organisations have felt unable to charge for their online services. The BBC distorts the market for news, they say.

Here’s a quick run-through of some stories related to this crisis:

Charlie Booker on Live from Studio Five.

Roy Greenslade in The Guardian

Clay Shirky on Public Service journalism

Greenslade again, this time in the Evening Standard.


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