Journalism is in big trouble. It doesn't seem very long since the internet was a saviour, opening up new ways of telling stories and bringing them to the public. Now online seems to be falling into the same mire as print. Is the web going to be able to support journalism even at the rather attenuated level at which it is practised in today's newspapers? Will there be experts, investigations, scoops, exclusives? At the moment, it doesn't look likely.
What's gone wrong?
1 The economics - the expectation that online everything is 'free' or, more accurately paid for by users being served advertising or handing over valuable personal data.
2 The recession - this has made everything worse
3 Structural problems with the advertising market - I think these are independent of the recession and won't go away
4 Shortsighted management determined to do things on the cheap - poor quality of most journalistic websites. Journalism is expensive.
5 Reluctance to embrace new ideas - most journalistic websites are print put online
6 Journalism isn't valued in Britain (which is often the fault of journalists) and this has led to a conviction that amateurs can do the job just as well as professionals.
7 Web metrics, which have encouraged publishers and editors to focus on the populist at the expense of the complex, risky.
8 Linked to 7, the death of the media 'package' wit its web of hidden cross subsidies.
9 The dominance of the BBC.
These are just notes to myself at the moment and my plan is to expand on each of them over the next few weeks and see where it takes me. Then I want to start thinking about what can be done to - and I know it sounds grandiose, but I can't put it any other way - save journalism.....