Online Revoloution – From print to online

In a fairly dated blog post Paul Bradshaw discusses  “How the web changed the economics of news – in all media” .

Even though the specific post was written back in 2009, it is up-to-date in the sense that the theories stated are still applied today and are thriving more than ever in practice.

Some examples:

Point 4 touches on “Reduced cost of newsgathering and production” – The technologies were dropping in price long before the internet – satellite technologies , desktop publishing. But the web – and now mobile – technology has reduced the cost of newsgathering, production and distribution to almost nil. And new tools are being made all the time that reduce the cost in time even further. When publishing is as easy as making a phonecall, that causes problems for any business that has to maintain or pay debts on costly legacy production systems.

Can I just say that as optimistic and jolly [hurray technology has evolved and made our even lives easier] this is supposed to sound, it is actually depressing and has caused a lot of journalists to shed tears and question what has humanity come to.

You still need someone to gather that information that you will publish and Yes it is a good thing that we have high tech gadgets, but NO WAY is it good that (and I cannot stress this enough) professional journalists are losing their jobs because so called citizen journalists are showing up with material recorded on their phones.    Professional journalists cannot be replaced with citizen journalists and why?  It is simple.  They are trained individuals who know how to research, collect and write up information.  One major skill they possess, in relation to the whole process of newsgathering, is the non-ranting one, in contrast to most of citizen journalists.

Citizen journalists do not be offended contribute all you like, the more information the better, but no, do not think that you are in the same position as trained individuals.

Point 6 talks about “Devaluation of certain types of journalism”:  If a reader wants a book review most will go to Amazon. Music? Your social networks,, iTunes or MySpace. Sport – any forum. Anyone producing journalism in those or similar areas faces a real issue.

Today even more online platforms provide reviews and constant updates second after second, leaving print journalism far behind.  Imagine buying a newspaper in the morning and reading the score of a football match that took place the night before.  Surely in nowadays you would have already known the information that was published.  Why? Because even if you happened to miss the live broadcast match, you could always get to it later in the evening online where not only would you be able to see it again, read + participate in comments, user interactive debates/discussions but also read the online sports news coverage before the match even started.

A similar view could be applied to Music reviews.  Even though we may enjoy reading about a band or a new single debut on Q magazine or any other publication including a newspaper review, youtube and the online platform took it a step further.  We are no longer have to be patient and eagerly wait for the end of the month or even next morning to read about it.  Youtube now provides teasers, online interviews and interactions with fans.  As soon as a single for example is about to debut, you suddenly see leaked links on google, then lyrical videos on youtube and finally an official video plus reviews from blogs, music specialists and online news.

I think you understand what I’m hinting at.  The online platform will always be one step ahead, if not few in comparison to print media, which will fall behind and only eventually manage to catch up ( if at all).

However of course there are issues.  It is true that when it comes to reviews you can never be too sure on who to trust.  Nor, can you always rely on social media for everything and why? remember that there is always someone behind a computer who wants to earn a living like you and as readers, the public, we do tend to be fooled by others who may advertise their brands indirectly thus fooling us.- why do you think that some reviews make products sound like complete perfection?

On the other hand, there are ignorant fools who have no idea what they are on about and even more ignorant people like you and me, actually fall for their absurdities and endless rants.  Read a lot, believe in little, folks.

My overall conclusion, without going deep into every individual points is the following:

However optimistic the blog post is as a whole and of course the points all point out to advantaged aspects of this online revolution, journalists still acknowledge the harsh reality.  That print media is found at a declining stage, more than ever, and that new ways have to be found to save it and thus save journalists their jobs.

3 Responses to “Online Revoloution – From print to online”
  1. “Professional journalists cannot be replaced with citizen journalists and why? It is simple. They are trained individuals who know how to research, collect and write up information. One major skill they possess, in relation to the whole process of newsgathering, is the non-ranting one, in contrast to most of citizen journalists.”

    Let me ask you this: how much research did you do in arriving at that opinion? Did you interview citizen journalists? Did you collect research on them?

    What exactly is a citizen journalist? Someone not working professionally as a journalist? What if they trained as a journalist? What about the working journalists who never went to journalism school? (There are surprisingly many)

    What about social scientists? They learn how to research, collect and write up information. In fact, if you’re one of the 43% of people to go to university in the UK, you have probably learned how to research/collect/write up. So are they journalists?

    It’s not about who is a journalist, it’s about who’s doing journalism. I see people every day who are investigating things that journalists are not, uncovering stories that journalists (underpaid, overworked) are not. I see stories where one part is done by a professional journalist, and another by a someone outside the news organisation. If it’s journalism, who’s the journalist?

    And is ice cream strawberry?

    • kboudylina says:

      My main point is not that I do not agree with having citizen journalists. I actually believe that some of them are making a difference – a limited number of them.

      However I do believe that we need professional journalists because it is not just about ‘who is doing journalism’ but it is rather about who is doing quality journalism, and there is a significant difference between these two. It is true that anyone can practice so called journalism but the big issue lies in a simple factor – if the journalism is of good standard.

      Now it is a complete different story if someone is trained as a journalist. If someone talented wants to work in the media business and has specific qualities that interest his employers, gets hired and then, anyway has to be trained, so as to meet the requirements, he does leave the category of being considered a citizen journalist does he not? After all he was taught theories and was prepared by qualified journalists to suit and adapt to certain standards.

      If you see people conducting investigations that journalists are not you will have to ask yourself again about the quality of their investigations, their findings and the way they illustrate these findings to the public. Do they know how to raise awareness in the right way? Do they know how to raise it at all? How to point out a certain issue efficiently?

      I do agree that many times journalists, especially those working in certain organisations do not uncover stories, however that is precisely why you have investigative journalists working harder than ever and uncovering stories that others simply could not. They take a lot of time indeed but the results are incredible. Then again deep investigations do not necessarily have to be done by journalists. Journalists rather come into the picture when it is time to confirm the facts, write up and publish the material that was investigated by someone who is experienced in the particular sector that was investigated.

      Talking about university and courses, I cannot tell you much about other courses either than the journalism course which differs because, in journalism you are indeed taught how to research/collect/write up. The main difference lies in how you write up though, because journalists are taught how to write up to a certain audience, in a certain manner – since it is different to write up an academic research and to write up an article that addresses to the public.

      Furthermore there is after all a reason why journalism is taught at university. It is not just there as a source of income for the university, it is there to prepare and teach something to students. Journalism students who go to internships are better prepared and always relate their internship with the course because the internship gives the opportunity for them to put the theories they learned at their journalism course in practice.

      Theory is not sufficient and is not useful without practice I agree, but then again practice is not that useful without theory either. With that in mind, I believe that this could be applied to journalism.

      • Thanks for responding. I don’t disagree that we need professional journalists. I just find some of the discussions about citizen journalism tend to come down to buffeting journalists’ egos. I’m not sure why we’re so concerned with drawing lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and that was why I posed those questions: you end up spending all your time making exceptions until the definition is meaningless. There are plenty of journalists who do very little journalism, and plenty of non-journalists who do great journalism, but wouldn’t ever want to be a journalist.

        It’s interesting that you draw out the ‘writing up’ element of journalism. My own experience with running Help Me Investigate is that, indeed, journalists mainly play that role of writing – not investigating or digging (which non-journalists tend to do more) – but simply writing. Conversely, non-journalists tend to show little interest in telling a story about their digging, because they just want answers, not stories. Both are important.

        But it’s interesting to see the news and magazine industry become less and less interested in recruiting people who are just ‘good writers’ (look at the job ads; speak to execs) and more at people with skills such as specialist knowledge of a field, data analysis skills, etc. As someone commented at a recent conference I attended: journalism is becoming more like social science.

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