Monday, May 5, 2014
Politico Magazine, published recently a debate on digital news between Bill Keller, former editor of the New York Times and Marcus Brauchli, ex executive of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. What will surprise the gloomy French publishers is their positive view of the near future. Admittedly, American newspapers like their European counterparts have been sailing through rough seas these last five years, losing massive income in advertising and circulation. However, since 2013, one sees the coming of new players like Quartz, Buzzfeed or Vox that are ready to invest in quality journalism and hire top writers and reporters. As far as the old press is concerned, the Financial Times and the New York Times seem close to winning the risky gamble of selling online services to a huge public, about 800000 subscribers for the NY Times.
Still one must draw a sharp distinction between national and international news and local news. If you are looking for the best information on Washington, Paris or Kiev, you can find easily the most comprehensive sites on the Web that will provide you in no time with what you are looking for.It also means that only a few news services will be able to cover the whole spectrum of current affairs. This trend is good for the NYT or, in France, for le Monde. Others will have to make choices and specialize.
Local news are another story. In Politico, the two editors complained that it was more and more difficult to get a proper account of state legislatures. In France, the regional newspapers are facing the same quandary: how can you provide a proper coverage of local politics with dwindling resources and less journalists and correspondents. In many countries, in the UK or in France, local government tries to fill the gap, a not very good solution. Let us hope the debate will go on and provide new answers.