Connect to information to win, connect to the medium and lose

Amongst the many stories about the end of newspapers and the death of journalism it’s encouraging to find well researched and documented contributions to the debate. This series  of articles argues, among other things, that the decline in newspapers and photojournalism is a longterm trend and not the result of the internet and the recession. In fact, newspapers have themselves to blame for much of the decline: “With only 14% of newspaper operating cost dedicated to creating content saving journalism is not the same as saving newspapers.”

The series of articles about the revolution that is reshaping the media economy is written by David Campbell, a professor of cultural and political geography at Durham University in the UK. He looks at four areas where these changes manifest themselves. For anyone involved in media content this makes very useful reading.

When looking at new models He quotes Jeff Jarvis who says:

Instead, I want a page, a site, a thing that is created, curated, edited, and discussed. It’s a blog that treats a topic as an ongoing and cumulative process of learning, digging, correcting, asking, answering. It’s also a wiki that keeps a snapshot of the latest knowledge and background. It’s an aggregator that provides annotated links to experts, coverage, opinion, perspective, source material. It’s a discussion that doesn’t just blather but that tries to accomplish something (an extension of an article like this one that asks what options there are to bailout a bailout). It’s collaborative and distributed and open but organized.

Besides journalism he also looks at photojournalism and its models to generate revenues in the future.

The articles can be read here:

  1. Context (the reasons and how it is changing the economy of news)
  2. Structure (how is the structure of information changing)
  3. The impact on photojournalism
  4. Implications for academic publishing

He says that: “A hybrid of solutions will be necessary. First and foremost it’s important not to start with the assumption there is a crisis but to look at the opportunities. It’s only a crisis in the eyes of failing newspapers and using that view as a startingpoint gets in the way of solutions.” On payment Campbell says that paywalls are not the solution, microstock payment has issues and advertising is not the only solution. 

Campbell lists 10 points in the his second article that describes his view (and those of others, Emily Bell, Chris Brogan and Jeff Jarvis) on the future of Media. He then goes on to describe the possible revenue model by quoting Edward Rousel of the Daily Telegraph who calculated that costs of newspapers would go down by 65% by going digital. This would mean that while revenues fall, profits will rise.

When talking about Photojournalism he says it “was in trouble before the internet and the recession. The world of photojournalism is paying minimal attention to the debate about the revolutions in the media economy. Photographers, like other publishers need to focus on the web, this is the only place with a growing audience. The web likes multimedia stories and photographers can become their own publisher of these stories. Photographers can move from taking pictures to visual journalism where photos are the startingpoint for a developing story.”

 The “atomic unit” of news media is changing from the the full newspaper to the individual article or even a developing story that grows over time and is never finalised. Journalism becomes a process instead of a product. The same goes for photojournalism. With the cost of media production collapsing new models will have to be found

He quotes Richard Stacey who said: “The social media revolution …is all about the separation of information from its means of distribution”. This is something that’s  also been adressed in this video

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses