Journalism 2.0: The Evolution of News Delivery and the Fate of Media in the Digital Age

By Jennifer Janviere

The past year has brought a lot of discussion about the decline of print media and what this means for the newspaper and magazine industries. A downward trend in readership threatens the viability of industry giants and small hometown publications alike. The FCC blames this trend on the rise of blogging and citizen journalists, and many media outlets point a finger at the internet in general as a primary cause.

It’s not hard to understand why, of course. The internet satisfies our insatiable appetite for immediacy, and one has to look no further than the welcome screen of any web browser for an instant and free stream of current events. The appeal of internet news over a traditional print format is the ability to deliver the latest happenings to the reader with the click of a mouse and track a breaking story as it unfolds. To an increasingly younger readership used to the digital age of internet headlines and ten second soundbites, the idea of sitting and reading an entire newspaper seems like an anachronism.

After all, why wait to read about what’s happening from the evening paper when the internet lets viewers see the aftermath of an earthquake or Tiger Woods announcing his return to golf as the events happen in real time?

In an attempt to fight back against the ongoing decline, media magnate Rupurt Murdoch announced plans to end the free distribution of online news by starting a model that charges readers for content. Murdoch also wants to fiercely enforce strict copyright protections in attempt to prevent free sites from reusing existing content, and has threatened lawsuits against those who do not comply.

The idea is controversial amongst both readers and newspaper industry professionals, who question the sustainability of online news sites that attempt to generate revenue through online content. In order for this model to work, such content would need to be at a high value to readers and virtually unavailable elsewhere, and the reality is that many people are not willing to pay for online news. The very nature of the internet as a free-flowing exchange of ideas and information makes this prospect a difficult one. The model also assumes that the audience consuming its print material is the same one who will go and online for the same news. Although some older readers will read the daily news on a computer screen or blackberry, it is unlikely that a pay-per-article model would attract the demographic of younger readers, who have grown up with the constant presence of free online content.

At the recent ‘Open Minds’ event sponsored by our college, authors Robert McChesney and John Nichols weighed in on this topic. McChesney, a well known critic of the media industry in its current state, stated his opposition to the pay-per-content subscription model. He instead proposed government funded media as a way to ensure the long term viability of newspapers as both a source of information and a pillar of a democratic society.

As journalists and media outlets grapple with adapting to the rapidly changing system of news delivery while remaining profitable, there are many open ended questions that remain. The only thing clearto everyone is that, as technology becomes an increasingly important part of our daily lives, the news industry will be faced with two outcomes. Either find a creative way to adapt, or face the very real possibility of extinction.

Jennifer Janviere is a multimedia specialist and instructor in the Diederich College of Communication.

1 Response to “Journalism 2.0: The Evolution of News Delivery and the Fate of Media in the Digital Age”

  1. 1 Journalism 2.0: The Evolution of News Delivery and the Fate of Media in the Digital Age « Wannapress Blog Trackback on April 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

Flickr Photos

Follow us on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: