The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, printing since the American civil war, closed this week – another victim to the changing media landscape. Lewis Camb wrote an emotive last blows account of the event, safe in the knowledge of his new job for SeattlePI.com, when most of his colleagues weren’t.
It comes after news that Sun Media and CanWest will stop using Canadian Press stories, the Globe and Mail will be making ten percent reductions to its staff and there will be 560 layoffs at CanWest. The newspaper industry is changing. Although printing presses haven’t drawn their last breath just yet, it remains to be seen what will happen when reader friendly portable media devices become the norm.
Future technology and an increase in Internet usage will also change online journalism.
In an article in Time Magazine, Walter Isaacson says that media organizations will have to stop giving their work out for free. He argues that consumers should pay subscription fees or micro-fiance fees to read a publication’s material.
It makes sense and really isn’t that different to the way we do things now. When we buy a print publication we do so for the quality of the writing, perspectives or coverage that it contains, otherwise we would simply watch the television news for ten minutes a day. Paying for online news allows publications to be reader orientated and takes influence away from advertisers.
The world is moving towards an era where media and the Internet become increasingly integrated: When watching television and films, reading newspapers, books and magazines, communicating, listening to music and radio and shopping through electronic online devices is the norm.
We need a business model that will allow this new media to flourish by keeping the people who create it employed.