Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mind the gap

We are informed with brain-gelling regularity that new and social media (such as blogging) have dealt a killer blow to proper old-fashioned newspapers - see here for one creative response. (Thanks to JW-S for the tip.)

So how’s the health of this rampaging behemoth that has the blood of a thousand journalists on its hands? (Note to self - do behemoths have hands?)

Well, the Urban Woo has shut up shop, as has the Wastrel (formerly Spinsterella) and, it would appear, Bob Swipe; First Nations is on a virally-induced hiatus, and Patroclus is in a similar state (although she'd doubtless blame work and a bizarrely hued kitten). OPC? Nine-Tenths? It’s as if they’ve all spotted the precarious state of, say, the Chicago Tribune and decided they want a go.

Which leads to a tricky question: if newspapers are dying; and the things that killed them are dying; what’s going to fill the hole?

15 comments:

Istvanski said...

Twitter will eventually replace everything.
Bob Swipe still blogs on MySpace.

patroclus said...

I'd blog if I wasn't getting up at 5am every day to work. I'm trying to work as much as I can now in case the economy totally collapses tomorrow. Bloody economy.

I don't think Twitter will replace everything because on Twitter you have to have something to link to.

The Bureauista said...

I checked the other day and I have four blogs now - no wonder I seem to blog less and less.

I think blogs will survive, but it will become more acceptable for bloggers to blog infrequently. RSS feeds conveniently negate the need to check daily for updates.

Quality rather than quantity - something like that.

I believe Paul Carr over at the Guardian was arguing something similar for news journalism recently - weekly subscription models for quality content like The Economist will be the way forward now that Twitter and online journalism have cornered 'now' news.

Geoff said...

Reading blogs didn't replace reading newspapers for me as I've never really read the columnists' stuff. Blogs have supplied something that was never there before and I'm always sad when a blogger who entertains me packs up.

Rog said...

In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king. And that would appear to be Google the Behemoth - all hail.

Z said...

Better drowned than duffers if not duffers won't drown. Good papers, and journalists, will survive.

Valerie said...

Reading blogs didn't replace reading newspapers for me either — they weren't related, fill different needs. Even opinion columns in newspapers fill a different need for me than blogs.

Blogs for me are more about connection — ways to get to know people in a different fashion than if I'd met them in person, at a party, at work, etc. In some cases, I'm merely an observer; in some there is an interaction. I value both, and I value reading other views of current events, but media is more complicated than an 'either/or' decision about venue and tool.

I don't know where we're going to end up; journalism is fundamentally changing, but it's not dead. I suspect we'll be very multi-venue for a while as we feel around for the ways that work. I'm watching the patchwork unfold with interest - and with a hope that people who make writing their profession can hang in there until the ultimate map is visible.

Tim Footman said...

MySpace isn't blogging, Istvanski. It's mumbling.

I know what you mean, Patroclus. I'm writing two books, before all the trees run out.

But Bureauista, what about those of us who can't manage the quality?

But Geoff, don't you also breathe a sigh of relief when a dreadful blogger bites the dust?

Google's not a Behemoth, Rog, he's a very naughty boy.

Z: The Sunday Express has been abject shite for decades, and it's still toddling along.

Valerie: And the map is revealed, and X marks the spot where we all have to retrain as teachers.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

I know, a desperate business. I have terrible trouble getting hold of The People, The News Chronicle, The Daily Herald, The Morning Post...

...Z: Yes, let's hear it for Arthur Ransome!

Billy said...

Retrain as teachers? God no.

Spinsterella said...

Peaches Geldolf is the future of the media.

And other "celebrity" "writers".

dh said...

How about a competition? Let's see if we can provoke a comment from swipe. Something rude about Bowie should do it.

Billy said...

What about something disparaging about the Arsenal?

*checks BBC*

Oh, they won.

Tim Footman said...

Well exactly, Christopher. And add the Daily Sketch, Today and Sunday Correspondent to the list.

It's the ever-looming threat, isn't it Billy? The 21st-century equivalent of the press gang.

Spinsterella: But surely that means (unrecognised but paid) work for those of us who aren't thick parasites?

DH: And I still maintain Roxy Music were cock after about 1976.

Billy again: Yeah, and they haven't been any good since the Compton brothers retired.

Marsha Klein said...

There will always be a need for newspapers. After all, you can't line a rabbit hutch with a blog...