The Internet ------ death of the 'newsroom'?
The fourth estate is quickly becoming a mere shadow of what it once was in our society. It was the only real oversight the general population could rely on to keep elected and non elected officials honest and above board.
Sadly, that is no longer the case as real newsrooms everywhere are dying as advertising revenue flocks to the new 'eyeball arena' with a totally different method of putting the seller's message in front of potential consumers.
The victim and real lose to society with this massive shift of advertising revenue is the cutting back and continual slashing and burning taking place in newsrooms all across the country. Those newsrooms incidentally are the real source for nearly all news content we now consume for free on the Net. When was the last time a major story broke that had taken countless hours of research by one or more truly dedicated journalists who have a passion for the role they should play in society. Instead the lamestream media just keeps pumping out the 'tickle your ears' crap that means nothing of substance to anyone.
It is not just the industries fault, it is also the fault of a general population that has become less and less engaged with their role in the governance of their community, province and country as we become self absorbed in our own little worlds.
In Nanaimo for example back in the early 70's the Daily Free Press had a paid circulation of just over 10,000 copies daily. Before they closed recently, the Daily News (same paper) had less than 4,000 paid subscribers.
Locally a new 'news' source is coming onto the local scene as part of the Jim Pattison media group (means there is money to burn in the launch) which appears to be a digital version of the old Daily News. Same sort of story mix and content. The business model would appear to be a hybrid of what the Bulletin offers, and that is content free for the reading with the hopes that enough people will read the product in order to justify the advertising revenue the product must produce to support a paid staff. No revenue comes directly from readership.
The question of course is just what they can offer readers that does not already come from the Bulletin and to a lesser extent even from this pitiful blog. With the pockets of Jim Pattison to draw from they will be able to run at a loss for much longer than a poorly funded effort could ever hope. They will probably be giving away ad space in the early days trying to attract the much needed ad revenue to keep the venture afloat. Whether they are actually filling a void in the local media mix remains to be seen. One thing is certain however, unless considerable dollars are dedicated to producing a quality news product, they will be no better than what used to be referred to as shoppers. The only difference will be the fact this one can't be used to wrap your garbage in tomorrow.
The death of quality journalists and high level journalism does not bode well for our society, as literally no one else is able to keep the politicians in line, and God knows they are pretty much getting away with murder now.