State of the Media

Posted: April 4, 2011 by Hilary Paige Smith in Uncategorized

I’m sad, but not surprised to see that newspapers suffered a continued revenue hit. There is just something so real about the tangible feeling of news between your fingers. As much as I love the idea of receiving my news quickly and conveniently online, the romantic in me loves the feeling of newsprint.

Cutbacks in newsrooms slowed this year, which was good news. I noticed this year, the Telegraph-Journal in little Saint John, will be hiring an additional intern at their newsroom, something that bodes well for budding journalists in New Brunswick. The State of the Media, however, outlined how many jobs have been lost since 2000, and the outlook is grim. Somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs have been lost.

Social programmers and computer scientists are playing an increasingly large role in news delivery and the IT field is booming. Now, suddenly, there are roles for people making smart phone applications, tablet and iPad applications and who knows what else for news delivery. Newspapers could also be in a place to start making more money by putting up paywalls, and charging for their mobile and tablet services. One study found that 47 per cent of Americans get their news in some mobile form, which is huge, considering smart phones have yet to completely invade the population.

This is also the first time news readers have admitted they read more free, online news than purchase newspapers, another fact that doesn’t surprise me. I don’t blame readers, it would be rare for me to pick up a paper copy of a newspaper. Maybe on the weekends, when I’m feeling nostalgic, or in the summertime when I’m at home and my parents still get the daily paper.

The following is a statement that both disheartens me and disagrees with me,

“The result is a news ecology full of experimentation and excitement, but also one that is uneven, has uncertain financial underpinning and some clear holes in coverage. Even in Seattle, one of the most vibrant places for new media, “some vitally important stories are less likely to be covered,” said Diane Douglas who runs a local civic group and considers the decentralization of media voices a healthy change. “It’s very frightening to think of those gaps and all the more insidious because you don’t know what you don’t know.” Some also worry that with lower pay, more demands for speed, less training, and more volunteer work, there is a general devaluing and even what scholar Robert Picard has called a “de-skilling” of the profession.”

I do not agree with that statement. I think hard times falling on the journalism field has only made us more creative. It’s given us an outlet for new and exciting media projects. Now, more than ever, we’re incorporating social media, video, audio and print, as well as interactive graphics into our work. The best new example of this is the work in Nunavut recently done by the Globe and Mail, found here. I think it’s amazing what has been done with new media and journalism, and I see this being a profitable thing in the future. I think, as long as people are seeing great developments like this, it will increase their willingness to pay for products.

It has to.

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