This week newspapers and their journalists get kicked in the shins. Many unfavorable reports depict the state of journalism as lowly and despicable, slow to change and as a result withering in the spotlight of social media.
Newspapers Slowpokes to Digital Platforms
A recent report released by Outsell, a research and advisory firm focused on the publishing, information and education industries, shows that papers have failed to move as fast as other media categories in the transition from print to digital revenue. While no one disputes that moving to usable, digital platforms is necessary, the news industry is still the biggest slowpoke of them all.
Newspapers, which are the largest of the segments tracked by Outsell, has consistently pulled the lowest portion of digital revenue -- as a percentage of overall revenue -- pulling just 11% of its revenues from digital in 2008, according to the report. To compare, technical and medical information publishing segments got 69.3% of its revenue from digital, up from just 44.9% in 2005.
So why has the news industry been slow to adapt?
Five Reasons Why Newspapers are Slow to Adapt
Splice Today presented Five Key Reasons Why Newspapers Are Failing. Of those five, they all point to an underlining point that "it's everyone's fault, from the editor's desk to the newsroom", from consumers who don’t pay for news to newspapers who are the product of monopolist thinking.
The top five accuses newspapers of being too timid or having websites that don't deliver content easily or effectively.
- Consumers don’t pay for news. The newspaper business model, which delivers advertising on newsprint. Subscribers didn’t pay for news. Advertisers did.
- Newspapers are the product of monopolist thinking. Newspapers offer less news and more filler, all in the pursuit of advertisers.
- Timidity doesn’t work on the web. The papers might have had a chance on the web if they had understood it, grasped its service power and made themselves the masters of it.
- The staffs of the papers, from management down to the reporters, deserve a big share of the blame. The nation’s newspapers need people on their staff who are familiar with media and news and are trained to delegate information and translate its implications.
- Newspaper websites suck. Sites don’t even try to present information to visitors effectively, pages arent designed for readers but only to "placate power centers inside the paper."
Replaced By Social Media Bots
If Spice Today's reasons don't fully explain the fall of newspapers, then this may.
Journalists may not want to be displaced by crowd sourced digital media. Last week, Tewspaper, an ‘online newspaper with no writers’, launched in the US, using an algorithm that scours social media sites for relevant news links. Tewspaper uses publicly available APIs to automatically crawl social media sites for local news covering Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York City.
As a result, journalists have been replaced by social media bots.