Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
This morning Fairfax media announced it is ending print, going tabloid, cutting some 1,900 jobs, and the social media sphere has lost. its. shit.
This is probably because I follow every Australian I find who is even peripherally connected with media, but everyone seems to be sad, angry, and longing for yesteryear. I’ve seen staff walkouts predicted, comparisons to the vehicle manufacturing industry with relation to subsidies, people hoping the same thing happens at NewsCorp, and I find myself agreeing with Senator Conroy for possibly the first time in my life, as he uses this to promote the need for the NBN.
Noone likes to watch their treasured social institutions change - just take a look at the Church’s massive overreaction to the movement to change the legal definition of marriage. Like marriage, though, the role of broadcasters and journalists is society is changing. Unlike marriage, this change comes with job losses, but in both cases the fracas is the end result of poor forward planning.
When we the public didn’t have the technology, or the ability otherwise, to connect with people on the other side of the world, or interact with our authorities, on a more or less level playing field we needed reporters to collect and distribute information in an accessible way. For the majority of the Western world, at least, the distribution problem has been solved. Internet, fuck yeah. Quality news and information is free and freely accessible. Hell, I’m a media student and I don’t do much (I’m the kind of girl who spends way too much time consuming media because there’s an overload of information that’s just so much more stimulating than whatever I’m supposed to be doing) and the last time I paid to access news media was in February 2011.
This is the first serious blow of the ‘digital revolution’ and it has been coming for the longest time. Paid news media is old paradigm. There is an enduring need for journalism, but traditional means of capitalizing on it are disappearing as private distribution continues to increase. Bloggers the world over are inquiring, discovering, distributing and opining on everything imaginable and distributing at no cost to the consumer, earning income through ad revenue, or earning nothing at all and publishing just because they feel like it.
When people are doing your industry’s job for free because they can, you need to adapt or perish. News is being democratized, eating away at the power traditionally concentrated in the hands of broadcasters. If you want to capitalize on information distribution then you need to seriously differentiate your product and give us a damn good reason to pay for it.
Fairfax, this is why your paywall is fucking stupid. Quite apart from the fact I can get your reposted AAP content elsewhere for free, you are on the internet now and we are equals here. Your top-down, one-way-broadcast, old-fashioned power-hoarding approach isn’t welcome in our vast anarchic playground.
You got to monopolize an audience whose access to information was limited by place and those barriers are gone now. Deal with it.