63. Are journalists killing journalism?
That’s a Jim VandeHei quote from this New York Times article yesterday:
…It starts with Mr. VandeHei’s admittedly provocative proposition that “journalists are killing journalism.” They’re doing this, he says, by “stubbornly clinging to the old ways.” That’s defined as producing 50 competing but nearly identical stories about a presidential candidate’s latest speech, or 700-word updates on the transportation budget negotiations.
Survival, Mr. VandeHei says, depends on giving readers what they really want, how they want it, when they want it, and on not spending too much money producing what they don’t want.
It’s not only about creating big audiences for advertisers, he and Mr. Allen said. It’s about convincing already-inundated audiences that they want what you’re producing, and they want it so badly that they will pay for it through subscriptions. That’s essential as advertising revenue drops to levels that will not support robust news gathering.
Hooking people on your news product is a lot harder than, say, hooking them on heroin or even coffee. But news organizations have ways they never had before to figure it out.
Why do journalists “produce 50 competing but nearly identical stories about a presidential candidates’ last speech”? What would change if journalists were to stop doing so? Why haven’t they stopped already? What would it take to make them stop? What are the pros and cons? What are the interests, institutions and parties involved? Which media companies do this more than others, and why?
Does Politico publish articles that are “nearly identical stories” to what’s already out there? If so, why, and should we stop? If not, why don’t we do so when others do?