As the definition of a journalist gets stretched to the outer limits due to the proliferation of content farms and $10 per ‘article’ writers, it’s understandable that there is some concern in the ranks. It’s not there won’t be outlets for their work but it’s more about the state of the traditional outlets where most have made their living.
Mashable reports on a recent survey which reveal these concerns
In a survey conducted over May and June this year, PR network Oriella asked media moguls how the Internet was affecting their business, their publishing formats and even the quality of the content issuing forth from their newsrooms.
In a survey of 770 journalists across 15 countries, the company determined that, while media creators are slightly more optimistic than they were last year about maintaining revenues vis-a-vis the rise of online ad budgets, many are still worried about whether traditional media formats can succeed in the long run.
“Concerns about the viability of journalists’ traditional media channels (print, radio or television) have intensified,” the report reads.
Of course, loss of advertising dollars leads the way for concern about viability of traditional media offerings. Since more and more people are moving online for their news, there will be fewer dollars available from advertisers who can support the kind of staffs that these outlets traditionally require.
Since most people can see the chain reaction of these concerns the next obvious worry is if their traditional offline mediums will survive or just go away (if that hasn’t happened already).
In the end, there may be no stopping these sweeping changes. Many act as if it’s the fault of the traditional media themselves but it’s really just people changing and moving to where they are more comfortable. Online is that place and not’s because the traditional media was bad.
Where the trouble has come is the slow pace of adaption by traditional media of the online space. In essence, they have created their own troubles by waiting too long and having to react to this paradigm shift rather than help mold it.
Traditional media, for the most part, missed a golden opportunity. Why did they miss it? I think it was because they were getting fat and happy by being unchallenged at the top of the media heap for too long. At that point you can lose your edge. They have simply lost their edge. With businesses being run by human beings this will happen. Most people want to go into cruise control when things are going well but they unfortunately lose focus at that point and are vulnerable to being replaced.
Since I am part of the ‘new media’ side of the coin it’s easy to lob criticism at the traditional side of the media. The trouble with that is that I then become no better and could very well suffer the same consequences.
For new media to really thrive we have to stay on top of the issues that face our industry as well. The primary one that I see is maintaining a high level of quality. With content farms churning out content that is more of a crapshoot with regards to quality this can end up being trouble.
If enough readers and content consumers get burned they will look elsewhere for information. Delivery methods may change but quality never goes out of style. Right now, the online publishing world needs to be very vigilant regarding the state of the quality of content. There’s plenty of talk but little action and as the content farm mentality gains momentum the window of opportunity to take this problem by the horns is closing very rapidly.
Could the online space suffer a similar fate to the offline space? Could the proliferation of lower quality content create enough discontent amongst content consumers that they will look elsewhere? Of course, where are they going to look, back to the offline space? Not necessarily but they may have less patience thus making it hard for even online entities to keep advertisers interested.
So what’s your take?