The news industry – collapse and reform

By Oba Cantine

“white concrete building” by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

I understand the idea that the journalism industry is currently in a state of flux, but I feel that it is necessary in order for journalism to grow.

Particularly when thinking about how the internet is constantly changing and how the methods of online journalism still remain inconsistent. While the traditional methods of Journalism like print media are dying out.

The population of the newsroom doesn’t reflect the idea of diversity being embraced in the world; with more than 90 percent of the newsroom being white males.

They hold strong to the older traditional ideas of Journalism was. Rather than looking at the crumbling landscape and building a new tradition for the rapidly changing modern world.

In an article on Medium by Sean Blanda titled “Medium and The Reason You Can’t Stand News Anymore”, he touches on how the founder of Medium Ev Williams decided that the company would “shift resources” to define a new model for news writers and creators “…to be rewarded based on the value they’re creating for People.”

Due to witnessing the dissatisfaction and mistrust that so many people have toward the news industry today.

This is similar to a decision made by Complex Network, formerly known as Complex Magazine. Back in December of 2016, they decided to cease the print operations of the company in order to shift its focus more toward the online content side of things. In a 2016 billboard article, Billboard points out

“The Complex Media Network, launched a half-decade later as the global economic crisis took its toll on the print media business…”.

Even though Complex’s decision to do this resulted in the whole editorial and writers, staff being let go, it allowed the company to embrace the more content driven digital side of the industry. Although the decision came at the detriment of print Journalism.

Blanda goes on to point out the disconnect between Journalism and business stating, “…One where, on one hand, they are producing objective journalism that improves Americans’ understanding about their world. While on the other, they are subverting any trust gained from that journalism to make money.”

He goes on to use a simplified 3 step example; with the first step being expand your reach through social media, step 2 sell advertising space on your website, step 3 sell native advertising or sponsored content on your website, and step 4 repeat step 1.

Although Blanda points this aspect of journalism out as out of touch, citing it as one the main proponents of Journalisms decline, with the other being the distrust of news networks.

While I agree with the untrustworthy news aspect, I’d have to disagree with the idea of the prioritization of selling Ad space as being part of the news industries decline. And while I understand his sentiments I view selling ad space on one’s website as an important aspect of online Journalism for the time that we are in.

As the news and Journalism industry begin to shit more towards the online space, with big networks like Fox News and CNN, and local news networks like News Twelve, develop cellular apps so that you can take your news with you.

They will need to secure a steady source of revenue to ensure the upkeep of their apps and online infrastructure. And while the idea of selling ad space may seem archaic in an online realm it is an undeniable staple of the news industry. Until they become a self-sufficient online entity like Amazon or as widely trusted as Disney.