Journos, bloggers and citizen journalists

Just been reading the following post on Getting Ink - Can citizen journos be trusted? – basically arguing the point that bloggers and citizen journalists will not replace “real journalists”.

To a degree I do think that is true – journalists are trained to question everything (or they used to be) and, as result, they carry an authority that Doris from Dorset probably doesn’t. They check facts, and re-check facts and ensure that what they write is as accurate as possible.

They cut through the hype and translate the jargon that the politician and big business might use into a language that the layman can understand. Indeed, they are professional laymen and women with well-tuned bullshit detectors.

However, I do wonder whether they are a dying breed and that they will eventually be replaced by an online community of citizen journalists – albeit NCTJ trained journalists. Visited The Sun’s website recently? Obviously Mr Murdoch knows where print media is headed as he appears to have invested millions in the new site. Same is happening at the Telegraph.

And I will tell you for why. Circulation decline and the growth of online advertising. It's economics and business. The Sun sold 3,154,881 copies in early 2006, (compared to USA Today, the best-selling US newspaper at 2,281,831). The daily readership is just under 8,500,000. But… it is declining.

I’ve done a quick search on the British Newspaper Society website of the regional press – the most web-averse titles in the media – and it’s not looking good. At my old newspaper - the Yorkshire Post sells just 54,730 a day. I left in 1997 and circulation was just touching 100,000 – 120,00 at the weekend (and know the two things are not related).

And look at the Northern Echo, another old stamping ground of mine, circulation is 53,481. In Birmingham, England’s second largest city the Post sells 13,000. I repeat 13,000!! The Manchester Evening News sells 128,445. The Liverpool Daily Post, my alma mater, sells just 18,741 in the city and 39,595 for its Wales edition. In Scotland the Aberdeen Press & Journal sells 84,612 and the Scotsman (a national newspaper?) just 66,462. And, finally, in London the Evening Standard’s circulation is 313,181 – for a population in excess of seven million.

So, where does this leave the journos and all those media-wannabes at university studying Media and Journalism? Well I don’t think they are going to be writing for the printed press – the economics just don’t add up. Which leaves the web – but can the journalists take control of it now. I don’t think so because as YouTube, Wikipedia, MySpace and others have proved the lunatics (citizen journalists?) have already taken over the asylum.

Discuss. I'm off to put my kilt on (Irish of course) for tonight's annual dinner at Bradford Amatuer Rowing Club - where I don't think anyone takes the Bradord Telegraph & Argus.


Ian Green said...

Just back from dreaded dinner. Fantastic night. I put a bet on myself on who would be the first person to ask what I was wearing under my kilt (nothing!).
I was amazed as it took two hours, for the question to come up! But was pleased because two female members asked for a feel...
I'll say no more but the male of the species should sometimes bling it up with a kilt if necessary. It's a nice antedote to "what should I wear tonight?"
Who cares - I'm wearing a Scottish, motherfucker (actually Irish and McBride) kilt and I feel fantastic. And the girls love it.

Linda said...

Yes but do they love the kilt? :)

Ian Green said...

I say! Steady on old girl!