Monday, February 11, 2019

Journalism Isn't Dying. It's Returning to Its Roots | Wired

Final paragraphs from a timely journalism reality check; also see We are not being honest with ourselves about the failures of the models we depend upon | Jeff Jarvis
"While the tone of journalism might be headed back to the 19th century, clearly the business models are not. Revenue-wise, the Great 21st Century Journalism Shakeout will likely end with smaller organizations inventing new business models that those villains—the internet and social media—enabled. Technology outlets such as TechCrunch and Recode pioneered expensive (and expensable) conferences. Gimlet Media, just acquired by Spotify for a reported $200 million, produces high-quality journalistic podcasts, pitching them as shows to Netflix and Hollywood, while selling ads. Gear review sites like Wirecutter (which The New York Times acquired in 2016) make substantial revenue via affiliate marketing, taking a cut of sales they drive on ecommerce sites. Books, those antique vestiges of a preinternet age, still command large advances, and audiobook sales at most publishers are growing at a healthy pace. (As a personal anecdote, I have five times the number of reviews on Audible as I do on Amazon: I’m theoretically an author, but I have more listeners than I do readers.)

For larger, especially national, organizations, the money machine will be a portfolio of all of the above, and probably others. (The solutions for local journalism are less obvious, as services like NextDoor or Facebook Groups threaten local journalism’s claim on the neighborhood scuttlebutt.) The luckiest will be kept alive by wealthy largesse, ironically much of it from the technology world—Laurene Powell Jobs at The Atlantic or Jeff Bezos at The Washington Post. Neither democracy nor journalism will die. In fact, I suspect we’re about to have way more of both than we’ve had in a while. The path to the next golden age in American journalism isn’t nostalgia for a vanishing past but the same way that led to the previous golden age, namely, that of profit. More than likely, given the new business models, this will mean some partiality from journalism as well. That’s just fine too. It’s what Ben Franklin would have done." 
Journalism Isn't Dying. It's Returning to Its Roots | Wired

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