Tuesday, March 4, 2014

digital journalism new trends, new hopes

In an important post on the Columbia Journalism Review web site, Dean Starkman stresses the new trends of digital journalism. He shows that during the last two years things have clarified and some heated debates have been definitely closed.

One major debate was about paywall or not paywall.  Now, it appears clearly that the traditional media have to accept paywalls. The NY Times, the WSJ, the Financial Times have very successfully moved in that direction. Although it is not a panacea, it makes for  a growing share of the losses of the print press. The only exception is the Guardian but its offer on tablets is already under a paywall and there are more and more people who use tablets.

However, people agree to pay if they get quality news and long reporting. Recent experience has shown that the public doesn't buy anymore hazardous informations spread by the social networks. The pure players can do it and some are very successful like Huffington Post or Buzzfeed but they too try to be more professional and pick up talented journalists to improve their offer. The print press is sick but it is still a model. After all, it seems that quality journalism has a future

What is really worrying is the fate of local news collection. In the US, local newspapers and websites don't find their way and lose audience and money. It seems that the public is willing to pay for national and world affairs, for economic news and, maybe, sports but is not motivated on what's happening next door. This trend which can be spotted too in France means that other actors are entering the game: highly specialized sites, local government services. A big question: is there a future for independent local news collectors? By now, there is no answer.