Writing is a labour of love.
Many of us would love to write, think and create – and journalists are in a privileged position that allows them to get paid to do so.
But Journalism is also a business.
Adam Tinworth, a business journalist, reminded JOMEC students of this fact, and posed some challenging questions to the room, most of whom have paid to enter into an industry where passion is paramount to success.
But is the business really crumbling as a media panic suggests? And if so, what are we going to do about it?
First there are a couple of myths to bust.
“No one makes any money online.”
This is not true.
There is what Mr Tinworth described as “The triple”
1) Data – Selling information that helps people to do their day job better
2) Events – including interaction with readers online
3) Advertising – online revenue created through targeted advertising
Money is made at Reed Business Information, the company where Mr Tinworth is head of Blog development, by implementing a paywall for their data set as he says a paywall for journalistic pieces is unworkable.
His argument is that people will find free, trusted blogs about their subjects rather than pay for journalistic pieces, but data is sacred.
It prompts the question – is there an equivalent of “data” in the news industry?
Perhaps a trusted brand, or news sense is what people would be prepared to pay for – or a platform where they can engage and be recognised.
Surely anyone with a successful blog and a passion for their subject could start such a following. So that’s it, it’s about the passion, the love for a topic or a subject that will not only ensure that content is entertaining, but useful and beating everyone else in the race to publish. Such blogs, should be essential for anyone in the industry so much so that it becomes a “home page”.
There is a second myth.
“Blogging is all about opinion.”
Again, not true.
Blogging is about conversation. As everyone can publish the characteristics of publishing can change.
According to Mr Tinworth Blogging can be about sharing interesting stuff with other people. It is also about interaction people will want to talk about that interesting topic.
Then there is the aspect of accuracy. As people are now able to “talk back” the journalist, there is less room for error.
If this is achieved, the blog becomes an attracting force for forms of revenue. An audeince forms, and the basic technique of maintaining a beat holds for the blogosphere. But for the basics, a blogger has to be inquisitive, honest, communicative, enthusiastic and informed.
So what about journalists and newspapers? Do they have a future?
The future of journalism is tied to its business model.
Making as many useful products that are invaluable to other people and businesses is the key. As data is sacred, Newspapers could try and find their own version of a dataset. That could be in the form of reliable news, exclusive interviews and pictures, even paywall certain sections of online content. It seems, however, that online advertising holds the key. But is online advertising effective? Here are some stats.
If we work out a viable business model journalists can continue to labour in love.