Print is dead. Long live journalism

Regional newspaper journalism is in meltdown and there seems no way out of the decline. There was a very depressing article in today's Media Guardian by Jon Slattery headlined Where the hell do we go now? Where, indeed?
Meanwhile, another online Guardian piece on strikes at the BBC underline the pressure on journalists at the moment - check it here: BBC journalists to strike for two days.
National Union of Journalists chapels across the UK seem to have no answer to this. They can shake their fists and take the moral high-ground - but from up there, in one's indignation, there is not much that can be achieved. In Yorkshire the good men and women who make up the editorial teams of the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post and countless weeklies are currently striking - see previous entries - and I wish them the best of luck. DISCLOSURE: I used to work as a journalist there.
A lot of the big publishers are using the Credit Crunch as an cynical excuse to ditch valued editorial people - when there is a lot a bad news around what better time to put out bad news and not be criticised for doing so? Particularly by your own titles and rivals.
However, one has only to look at the state of regional and local journalism in the US (60 titles closed in the past six months) to realise that a lot of the regional titles we cherish in the UK will not exist in five, ten, 20 years time. I really do fear the Yorkshire Post which began more than 300 years ago has a shelf life of less than ten years. I follow a guy on Twitter who chronicles the collapse, demise and slow, slow death of print media - it's depressing.
So what's the answer? Well clearly the consumers of the traditional deadwood media are dying off. They don't go online - that's for sure. But then a lot of journalists - particularly those in the regions don't too. Because, like their owners, they saw the web as an amatuerish, slap-dash approach to journalism and publishing. No-one, they thought, will use these services...
But here lies their salvation. However, regional newspaper websites are shite. They are shite because the bean counters couldn't work out a business model for them so they threw away content without thinking about how they could moniterize the whole process. And they didn't invest. And they didn't ask the editorial teams what they thought. And this was ten years after the internet took over. Ten years!!!
Journalism is in denial - your medium is dying. Print is dead. Long live Journalism.
I believe that a group of journalists in any city could create a news website in a day - yes a day - and make it work. Would it pay salaries? Probably not. But it just might...

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