I would like to preface this series of posts by saying up front that i am in no way a professional writer, which should become obvious quite quickly. Furthermore i harbour no aspirations of overthrowing traditional journalists or making money from this blog. On the other hand i think i have something interesting to say on the topic and i am grateful that even a small number of people will read it. The above 3 sentences contain the seeds of why newspapers around the globe are failing, but they should also give professional journalists hope for their future.
A lot of the commentary on this topic from traditional journalists, is really just whining about the demise of newspapers and looking for someone to blame. They blame everyone from the general public, for not caring about good reporting anymore, to MTV for shortening attention spans. But mostly they blame bloggers for making so much content free - how dare they! The more objective perspective, is that technology has fundamentally changed the landscape of media, rendering the old business model of newspapers unsustainable. No-one is at fault, it is simply evolution.
Bloggers can be equally sensationalist, proclaiming newspapers to be dead and professional journalists an anachronism. This is at best a partial truth. Newspapers are certainly in decline, but there is a good chance that they will continue on - in some form or another - for quite some time. Sensationalist bloggers are also guilty of being unable to separate the medium (newspapers) from the work (journalism) and it is an important distinction.
In this series of posts, i will specifically be discussing journalists and newspapers, but the points are applicable more generally to any traditional media industry (music, film, publishing; books and magazines). In the first post i will look at why blogging is killing newspaper reporting and why this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the second i will move on to why there will always be a place for professional journalists. Thirdly - and most importantly if you hope to be a professional journalist - what professional writers will have to do to survive and thrive in the future. Finally i will post a round-up of the main points and some conclusions.
I would appreciate any comments on what i write in this and future posts, particularly if you disagree with me.