How the news flirts with disaster

April 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

Story category by area, total

Source: Selling the News by James Wendelborn.

As sure as night follows day, one of the things that happens when a natural catastrophe or act of terror or war happens is the scramble in news rooms to find out the nationalities of those killed or injured or who were there when it happened. It’s an automatic response. Journalists in news rooms hundreds and thousands of kilometres away from the epicentre look for the local area person or persons who may have been caught up.

The story priority cascades downwards from was a local area person killed; were they hurt; were they there but uninjured (can they tell us what they saw and did they have a lucky or miraculous escape). Bottom of the list as you drill down is did a local area person have a friend or in-law (a local area person of the said local area) who was directly affected by the tragedy and/or violence. If none of these apply, then the story is simply an international story that fails to make the crossover into national news.

When explained like that, it sounds faintly ridiculous but that’s how it works. It’s also how New Zealand news rooms would have responded to the Boston Marathon bombing this week and, given that the event regularly draws runners from all around the world, there would have been not unreasonable odds on there being at least one New Zealander taking part.

By the end of April 16, three people were dead and more than 100 people had been injured in what the American authorities are treating as a terrorist attack. To the relief of New Zealanders who may have had relatives and friends in Boston at the time, no Kiwis were seriously hurt. But the reaction of those New Zealanders becomes an important strand of the story here.

It was perhaps insensitive of me send a facetious tweet but this rush to action in newsrooms here to locate a New Zealander in the attack is its own way a fairly tasteless ritual. But it becomes more acutely so if the death or injury to a New Zealander is framed in sharp relief against the other casualties, making it seem as if those casualties mattered less.

tweet

At least one journalist took offence at my tweet but I think it’s a valid point expressed satirically. Journalists are not callous people unmoved by tragedy but the nature of the business can make them inured to the suffering of others and the old editor’s adage, if it bleeds, it leads, still holds true.

There were, of course, New Zealanders in the marathon and they were able to tell their stories to the New Zealand media as you will have seen here and here. But as any news editor will tell you, if there was no local area angle to dig into, the story would have less of a connection to a local area audience. My big issue with putting a tight focus on our local area is how if the editorial process is handled clumsily it can make our news industry appear more parochial than it usually is.

How else would you explain that images of the All Black captain Richie McCaw are more likely to appear on the front page of the biggest daily newspaper in New Zealand than the prime minister by a ratio of 11 to four? This is one of the observations made in a study called Selling the News by an Auckland graphic designer, James Wendelborn.

James has spent a considerable amount of his time over the past 15 months classifying and displaying New Zealand Herald front pages. He’s illustrated and published the data on a Tumblr. It confirms what you might already suspect.

The infographic at the top of this post is stylised depiction of what a typical Herald front page might look like. Yes, really. And the four ingredients that top the list for space are crime, tragedy, advertising and sport. He observes that the Herald features an expected strong emphasis on New Zealand stories and that crime and tragedy stories occupy a disproportion amount of space to the frequency in which they appear there (and they appear often!).

And here’s what Herald front pages looked like throughout 2012.

Story category by area

Source: Selling the News by James Wendelborn

James has broken the stories down into three main categories – good news, bad news and neutral. One of his conclusions:

There’s a definite tendency to report ‘bad news’ which historically, readers will tell you they don’t want but editors will tell you that’s what sells.

This is supported by the probability that 43 per cent of the stories were in the bad news category, with good news at 27 per cent and neutral at 30 per cent. But wait, there’s more.

The Herald is much more interested in small, personal stories – the death of a teenager in rural New Zealand is always going to get the lead story over hundreds dying overseas. As they have no doubt discovered, this will be because that’s what sells – there is a well-established mentality of caring more about one local tragedy over many international ones.

James also notes that many important issues rarely get a look in on the front page. For example, environmental stories, and this includes that elephant, climate change, occupied 0.3 per cent of the front page acreage over the 12 month long study.

When climate change is such a major issue, only seven environment stories is kind of irresponsible. Richie McCaw shouldn’t be featured on the country’s front page more times than the Prime Minister. And I’m frankly over the paper’s infatuation with property prices and rugby players, although perhaps the country needs to get over those things first.

Draw your own conclusions. Visit Selling the News and connect to James on his Twitter or send him an email and let him know what you think of his work. He’s made a fascinating contribution to any discussion on what we as New Zealanders might want in our news and what matters to us as a society.

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News, journalism and the digital abyss

November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

The news industry is looking for a life jacket in a storm. No one yet has a complete answer to make journalism float in the digital wave that is wiping out the news media’s traditional business models.

One of the biggest fears for journalism is how to maintain the separation between an editorial process and the money making side of the business. As the old news media models begin to collapse in the digital era, the danger is that the news will become all about clicks on pages because that’s what is most attractive to the advertising side of the business.

If news is determined by what gets the most clicks, the many issues that are serious, complex and unsexy (think climate change, changes to the way schools are funded or new surveillance legislation) would not be able to compete with stories about international rugby players caught in a sleaze.

How then do we as a society mitigate against changing news priorities that are primarily driven by commercial imperatives, made even more acute by an increasing desperation in news media publishing? How can good journalism be profitable when classified advertising in newspapers is drying up and free to air television news faces falling audiences and increasing competition for advertising dollars due to online competition?

The fact is no one yet knows. As American internet commentator, Clay Shirky, puts it, we are in a period of creative destruction and it is still too early to predict the kind of emerging media architecture that we hope will spring Phoenix-like from the ashes of the old business models that have served journalism for so long.

Shirky’s referencing of creative destruction is actually the idea of an Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter who described it as an essential part of business cycles. As companies grow and become leaders, they eventually become overtaken by other companies which adapt to the changes in the business environment by being smarter and more innovative.

In the current media environment, the pervasive mood is fear. Many news organisations are more concerned with clinging to their declining audiences than building new ones. It’s a strategy borne out of pessimism. There is a lot of waiting to see what happens next.

That’s why the experiments implemented by Rupert Murdoch’s News International have attracted so much media attention and commentary. The pay wall that ring fences news content on The Times website and Murdoch’s digital subscription newspaper The Daily were designed to stem the free content digital tide but the prognosis is not a hopeful one.

On the other hand, the New York Times appears to be enjoying some success with its pay wall as it records a significant increase in subscribers.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is a newspaper with an entirely different strategy. Editor Alan Rusbridger told Al Jazeera that a decision had been made a few years ago to turn the Manchester newspaper into a digital first organization.

The Guardian is betting that it will become a commercially viable strategy even though the transition to digital is literally costing it millions. Last year, it lost over 40 million pounds and it is even reportedly weighing up opening a lifestyle shop in Covent Garden to create another revenue stream.

But in journalism terms, The Guardian has been buoyed by its part in breaking two remarkable news stories – the Wikileaks documents and the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Even so there must be misgivings among its shareholders over how long it can continue to run at a loss while hoping its bet on a digital future for news pays off.

Rusbridger told Al Jazeera that the media companies that will succeed will be open ones. “This is the biggest transformation in the last two to three hundred years and not many media organisations have twigged it yet.”

The key appears to be finding ways of doing things that the competition is not doing. While it may be an expensive strategy, The Guardian is trying to seize a first mover advantage. Recent innovations include opening up its news lists to readers to contribute story ideas and@GuardianTagBot, a “Twitter-based search assistant”. There’s also nOtice, an “open community news platform” which is heralded to be launched soon.

While these experiments may not yet add up to a clear picture of the future of news, they give us glimpses of new directions for journalism and offer further clues of how media organisations need to evolve to survive.

Some might say it is simply a matter of rearranging the deckchairs but The Guardian’s guiding vision is a courageous one. That’s because it is intrinsically optimistic about quality journalism and the internet, despite the prevailing fear and pessimism that now grips the news industry.

How Osama could have stolen the Royal Wedding but didn’t

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

It started with a tweet. When the White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer alerted journalists that the President would make an announcement in 43 minutes time, solid sources began to chime in on Twitter that the news was Osama bin Laden was dead.

Mashable has the Twitter timeline of how the story broke but in many ways what’s more interesting is speculating about why the story broke when it did.

An early New York Times story claimed the story ‘leaked out’. On the face of it this doesn’t appear to have been a leak in the accidental and unplanned for sense. It was certainly a deliberate strategy to warm the bed, so to speak, and to ensure that the White House had the full attention of the news media.

The timing of President Obama’s announcement at 10.30pm US Eastern Time can only be assumed to be tactical so it would be screened in primetime across the three earlier time zones across the United States. There are a lot of Republican-held states across mid-America and Obama had the trophy that had eluded George W Bush for seven years.

But Obama delayed his address for just over an hour, before finally taking the lectern at 11.35pm. It has been said he was writing the announcement himself and by that time, no one was in any doubt that the subject was bin Laden. Even delayed as it was, the scheduling still would have worked perfectly for all the blue states from the Mid-West to California and remember, Obama will be fighting for his presidency next year.

Reports say the Americans had known since August last year that there was a ‘high value target’ in the Abbotabad compound, not far from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Planning intensified throughout March to raid what was to prove bin Laden’s hideaway and it was on Thursday last week that Obama gave the go ahead for the operation which appears to have taken place early on Monday NZT.

It is probably worth speculating that the operation was scheduled so the news – if successful – would not compete with the other elephant on the news agenda, the Royal Wedding. If you’re going to throw a party, you’re not going to do it on the same night a good friend had planned for their own big shindig. That’s common sense. If you can control the timing of a news event, do it at a time when you can get the full attention of the news media instead of having news rooms stretched between two large and competing stories. The start of a new week is the start of a new news cycle. Last week was all about Will and Kate. This week, barring some monumental event like a giant meteor collision, it’s all about Obama and Osama.  How George W Bush must rue that it didn’t happen on his presidential watch.

There’s already a lot that’s been written about how the bin Laden story exploded on to the social web. Unlike the Royal Wedding, nobody but President Obama and his advisers would have known anything about the clandestine operation to find one of the world’s most wanted men. It was planned in secret while the royal event was heralded in as public way as possible. But they matched each other in the speed that the news travelled its way around the world. In these social media times, time flies and so does the news.

Journalists mourn NZPA on Twitter and Facebook

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

The end of the New Zealand Press Association is a major tragedy for journalism in New Zealand. The news that the 132 year-old media institution will close later this year has been greeted with sadness and anger by many journalists and that’s been very much in evidence on Twitter and Facebook.

@LewStodart: Breaking news: NZPA to be replaced by Twitter as NZ’s major primary news source #headlineswewishweresatire

@felixmarwick: Commiserations to my friends at NZPA. A bloody awful decision.

@kimbakerwilson: Thinking of my @NZPAnews colleagues.

@mrsaubergine: Very sad abt @NZPANews. I worked there 11 years & will be v sad to see it close after 130 yrs. Nice to hear Kent on RNZ this morning, tho :)

@x_chemicalism_x: Haven’t read all the details but Tweeps are saying #NZPA is finished – confirm? I really hope it’s not!

@dpfdpf: Is very sad that NZPA is closing, both for those losing their jobs but also as it mean fewer quality factual stories

@peterdingham: Jim Tucker’s started a FB group: Save NZPA … http://on.fb.me/fhAVao

If you weren’t aware, NZPA is New Zealand’s domestic news agency. Australia has AAP, Germany has DPA, Indonesia has Antara, the United Kingdom has PA, Japan has Kyodo, China has Xinhua and Malaysia has Bernama.

NZPA is independent. It is owned by the New Zealand Newspaper Publishers Association and it provides generic news content for websites, newspapers, television and radio stations around the country.  Its journalists are very much the unsung heroes of the news because very few members of the public would be able to name an NZPA journalist or remember their by-line on a story.

NZPA copy is often taken and incorporated into the copy of other journalists at other media organisations. It is the sausage factory that journalists from other media organisations rely on to build a final news product.

It also reports on the unsexy stories at Parliament. While the parliamentary pack are chasing the key players in a sex or travel expenses scandal, NZPA also reports on the nuts and bolts of governance that goes on in select committees and the drafting and passage of legislation that won’t excite many editors and members of the public.

NZPA has also played an invaluable role as a training ground for young journalists. Dozens of young have passed through the NZPA news room in Wellington. I should know. I am one of them and it was the place where I first put into practice the fundamentals of journalism that I had learned at journalism school.

And now it is to close, putting 42 staff out of work. The tipping point is the decision by Fairfax to pull out of its purchase agreement with NZPA and by so doing destroy an organisation it is one of the main shareholders in. NZPA’s other major shareholder is APN. Both APN and Fairfax are Australian owned and are in direct competition with each other in many regions but most significantly, on the internet.

NZPA’s original model of cooperative copy sharing arrangement existed for years between newspapers and it worked when newspapers occupied particular regions around the country and didn’t compete directly with each other.  But the internet changed all that. Now Stuff and the New Zealand Herald Online compete directly online for readers and advertising and geography is not a factor.

It’s clearly a business decision by Fairfax. NZPA is commercially expedient. It provides news that helps Fairfax’s main competitor, APN, the publisher of the New Zealand Herald, maximise its journalism resources to provide nationwide news coverage.

Fairfax feels it has an advantage it can drive home because it owns newspapers the length and breadth of the country – The Press in Christchurch, The Dominion Post in Wellington, The Waikato Times in Hamilton, The Nelson Mail, The Southland Times and the Sunday Star Times and others.

Fairfax therefore intends to depend on its own news gathering resources and to knock out an institution that potentially gives more value to its main competitor.

The threat of closure has been hanging over NZPA for a number of years now. It has become a casualty of a rivalry between two Australian-owned media companies and New Zealand journalism and public are now worse off for it.

Blogger Danyl Mclaughlan who posts on Dimpost described it thus: “It seems to have been standard practise in news rooms for time immemorial, for journalists and news editors to take a PA story and stick their own by-line on it and publish it, so PAs footprint on the media landscape is even larger than it may have seemed; even the media executives who closed it down after 130 years probably don’t realise quite what they’ve destroyed.”

That’s the truth of it.

Where’s all the news, Tantao News?

April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

You’d think a showdown between India and Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup would be a good scenario for a Twitter war. So I went searching for nationalistic taunting between Twitter users from both countries and surprisingly, found nothing calculated to enrage rival cricket fans. But the searches did throw up one idiosyncratic feature. All the search columns were topped with a promoted tweet for a news organisation called Tantao News.

If you recall, Al Jazeera were probably the first news organisation to use promoted tweets to corner news coverage of the Egyptian chapter of what has come to the called the Arab Spring of discontent and protest. The Wall Street Journal reported the cost of one day of promoting a tweet is something around $US100,000. It isn’t a cheap way to advertise a news product and it helps that Al Jazeera has the deep pockets of the Emir of Qatar to count on.

But who or what are Tantao News (@TantaoNews on Twitter) and its Global News Desk service?

The website tells us that it is an American news organisation, run and administered by CNEWSCO which is a start-up new media company based in Washington DC with operations in Los Angeles and Beijing.

Its operation is focused on “the aggregation, production and distribution of China-themed news and related content”. Tantao, according to the website, is Chinese for discover or to explore.

So far so good, taken at face value, here’s a new US-based news aggregator and producer that specialises in “China themed” news at a time when there is widespread misunderstanding and ignorance of China, particularly in the West. It promises that it is responsible for “our own productions and in selecting the textual news articles and videos that appear on our site from a continuous stream of content available to CNEWSCO from our news partners”.

These news partners are the Xinhua News Agency and the Shanghai Media Group with which Tantao has syndication agreements.  Xinhua is the Chinese government’s official news agency and the SMG is owned by the city of Shanghai and is one of China’s largest broadcasters.

The website also says Tantao maintains absolute editorial independence from its content partners, “meaning we make decisions about the information on our site free of any outside influence”.

“With China assuming a larger role in world affairs, access to this news is critical to understanding the dynamics behind China’s policies, decisions, and directions,” the website says.

As well as stories about China’s economy, politics, financial markets and technology, there are also world stories that include the latest news from hotspots like Libya, Syria, Ivory Coast and Afghanistan.

In the China Focus section, there are stories about radioactive iodine detected in some Chinese provinces, new parking restrictions in Beijing and the doubling of solar energy goals, among others.

But I couldn’t find any news about the so-called ‘Jasmine Revolution’ protest movement that has made many China watchers and bloggers nervously waiting for the Chinese government’s response.

Crucially, there is no content about the current crackdown on human rights and social activists. The recent arrest of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the designer of the National Stadium in Beijing (known as the Bird’s Nest) is conspicuous by its absence. Also missing is news of the recent detention of Australian Chinese blogger Yang Hengjun.

As China watcher Charles Custer who founded the China Geeks website described it on Twitter; “Seriously, Yang Hengjun, Ran Yunfei, Teng Biao, Sec Zhang, etc. etc….this is a fucking apocalypse of arrests, why doesn’t anyone care?”

If Tantao News wants to be a credible ‘China themed’ news organisation, maybe it should care.

Journalism and blogging: Should the two mix?

January 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Press Gallery’s end of year party celebrates the end of another grueling year in politics and the news media’s duty to report what happens in Parliament. While recent years have seen an unhinged gatecrasher and the Great Wine Theft, it is usually a civilized affair where journalists and politicians mingle affably. I count myself lucky to get invited but I guess that comes with working for an organisation that funds journalists to go to Asian countries.

Whilst enjoying the generous hospitality of Parliament’s journalists, it is always interesting to catch up with former colleagues and friends. On this occasion, a senior Radio New Zealand journalist declared to me that journalists should not be blogging. I naturally disagreed. Blogs are another tool for journalists to engage with readers by expressing themselves with more colour and personality than they would normally have licence to do.

But many news industry traditionalists believe blogging and micro-blogging undermines a journalist’s reputation for objectivity and integrity because blogs are, by their very nature, opinionated. It’s an issue that does reveal one kind of tension as the ‘legacy media’ tries to come to terms with the disruption to its industry caused by the internet, evolving information and communications technology and changing consumer preferences.

The day of the Press Gallery party, the Australian union representing journalists was invited by its New Zealand counterpart, the EPMU, to launch a new report on the future of journalism entitled Life in the Clickstream 2.  Given the conversation I was to have later that day about blogging, it was fitting the venue was the RNZ boardroom in Wellington.

As an aside, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance that commissioned the Life in a Clickstream 2 report is the same union that embroiled itself in an actors’ labour dispute over The Hobbit. But I’m not holding that against them because with respect to journalism, the report is an excellent snapshot of the state of the media industry in Australasia.

As the report shows, fragmenting audiences, declining advertising revenues, shrinking news room budgets, falling newspaper circulations and job cuts are all symptomatic of the current hard times faced by the media industry and harbingers of continuing turmoil ahead.

In Australia, 700 journalists have lost their jobs and sales of national and metropolitan newspapers are falling nearly 3 percent each year. While advertising revenue is growing for pay TV and online advertising, it is relatively sluggish for all other media. In an MEAA survey, 91 percent of respondents said they would not be willing to pay for news online, compared to 3 percent who would with 6 percent saying they didn’t know.

But there are some positives. Smartphone and tablet platforms are increasingly seen as potential sources of revenue for news companies either through subscription or advertising or both. The Australian newspaper is selling its iPad application for A$5 and in the month after its release, reported sales of 8500 downloads. The newspaper’s owner News Corp has since made iPad applications available for its other Australian metropolitan papers and is planning to launch an exclusive iPad-only newspaper called The Daily. Meanwhile over here, Stuff.co.nz has launched free iPad and iPhone applications while the NZ Herald reports its free iPad application has been downloaded by 24,000 people since it was launched in June.

I also found it very encouraging that the Life in the Clickstream 2 report devotes a pretty comprehensive chapter to online tools, particularly social media. In the chapter’s introduction, it quotes The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, a leading New Media advocate, saying “a failure to experiment is more dangerous than trying new things”. There is an explanatory section on Twitter and microblogging. Facebook and social networks, crowdsourcing, Wikileaks, expert directories, live blogging, user generated content and content sharing are also explored.

Perhaps the section that resonated most with me concerned how news organisations can use social media and microblogging platforms to distribute news content and how this was changing the way news reaches audiences. As British journalism academic Paul Bradshaw put it: “Everyone is a newspaper boy now.” In the MEAA survey, an astonishing one quarter of respondents said they got their news through Twitter and Facebook. It seems logical that this proportion will only increase as the use of social media grows in popularity.

The report notes the problem that the traditional or legacy media model, in that it packages its content to its audiences regardless of whether or not it interests or concerns them. The report goes on to say the consensus among many media thinkers is that breaking out of this mindset and rethinking the way content reaches audiences is the only way forward. Does that mean that journalists should be blogging? Perhaps it does.

Post script: Coincidentally after I finished this piece, I found this Columbia Journalism Review article via Twitter. Google News product manager Krishna Bharat says “journalists should think of themselves as part of the larger media conversation”. I couldn’t agree more. But what do you think?

News and the social media revolution

January 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

We live in revolutionary times. Last month a 17-year-old Melbourne girl had the Australian news media scrambling to follow her on Twitter and Facebook after she posted photos of naked Australian Rules players online. Meanwhile a hashtag war broke out between Indonesian and Malaysian Twitter users over a football match, a story duly reported by the Jakarta Globe.

Both stories became news but their genesis happened on social media platforms. While the news media is finding more stories on social media, many of the people running news organisations have very contradictory and conflicting views on how to make sense of the social media revolution and take advantage of it.

Yes, social media is an increasingly rich source for stories and useful for broadcasting headlines and links but tips and information gleaned through eavesdropping on social media are quite rightly viewed with skepticism in newsrooms. Verifying the accuracy or veracity of information is after all a central tenet of journalism.

However there are very good arguments why the news media need to take social media much more seriously than they currently do.

The first reason has been apparent since the spread of the internet began to wreak havoc with the mainstream media’s business models and traditional revenue streams. The writing is on the Facebook wall so to speak as this pithy little video shows.

Most have to give away their news content for free online and compete fiercely for online advertising revenue. The internet has created a flat playing field for news in which it doesn’t matter if you are a broadcaster or a member of the print media.

The advent of social media is a second sucker-punch for the mainstream media. Consumers can now make up their own minds as to how they obtain their news. Social media filters and content-sharing give us alternative ways of finding the news or, indeed, having it find us.

There is already mounting evidence that paywalls and micropayments won’t work while offering tablet and mobile applications show many media organisations are trying to keep up with the wave. Some get it completely wrong. You could say the landscape has changed but too many are still using the old maps. In order to survive, news companies need to create new revenue streams outside their current news and content models. It surprises me that the mainstream media is not attempting to copy the Groupon model of ‘deal of the day’. Also, why not look into providing cool new game apps for mobile phones and tablets? Its Rugby World Cup year so why not commission and market rugby game apps? Imagine emulating this kind of success. Why not use social media to push its deals, services and products? And why not allow people to post your most popular videos on YouTube or Vimeo? It’s a tribute to your newsgathering if so many people want to watch it.

The mainstream media also appear genuinely uncomfortable with the conversation aspect of social media. We as news consumers can now instantly discuss and challenge coverage (or lack thereof). There are inherent risks in engaging with the public in this way but if managed carefully and resourced adequately, it could enhance the reputation of media companies for engaging with the communities they purport to serve.

Social media also challenges the standard maintream news narrative. One of the characteristics of news is that it is highly repetitive. Most news stories are highly predictable, dutifully reporting the traditional positive/negative dichotomy of an issue. But life is rarely that simple and one of the best qualities of social media is that it provides for a richer and more nuanced diversity of voices than are covered in the news media. It is encouraging to see more and more journalists using social networking tools for crowdsourcing information and engaging with their public. But when will their editors sanction the conversation principle?

Social media and Web 2.0’s user-generated content also strikes at the very heart of the traditional concept of a ‘journalist’. With the available technology, anyone can be a reporter although the theory and practice is that it still takes a journalist to be the interpreter of eyewitness and second-hand information posted online in the event of a news event. A respected news brand gives credibility to the information.

But the boundaries of journalism are being shaken because there are many eminently qualified and talented people who are carrying out excellent journalism as commentators and bloggers but who may not have necessarily been to journalism school or work in a news room. Many have big readerships and followings because they use social media cleverly and effectively and because they are not restricted to story telling that conforms to a traditional news narrative.

I contend that there’s never been a better time to be a young and intrepid journalist who can keep his or her overheads low, who is mobile and connected, and who is skilled in multimedia forms of story-telling. Journalism really is your world for the making because you can build your own freelance brand on the web, independent of a news organisation.

As media companies find their traditional business models failing them, they are approaching a crisis point. It doesn’t matter how excellent your journalism is because if consumers desert you and advertisers are not willing to pay you, you’re doomed. And if news organisations want to return to the halcyon days of influence before the internet came along, they really have to become more willing to experiment, innovate and engage.

As consumers, the way we get our news is changing and it is up to news organisations to adapt to remain profitable. This isn’t about how social media can accommodate journalism but rather how journalism needs to reach out to its public using social media to stay relevant.

The revolution is here. The internet and social media are the angry mob that have changed the paradigm. Undone by complacency and a failure to adapt quickly, the casualties are starting to mount and the aristocracy is fearful. And so they should be if they want to keep their heads and their palaces.

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