Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Patrick Smith gets blunt with Blunt

Media journalist Patrick Smith admits to being a fan of  Blunt, the cynical regional journalist who writes the Playing the Game: Real Adventures in Journalism blog, but takes them to task over the "Bullshit Translator" poking fun at the likes of Web Mangers, Web First, Hyper Local and Media Hubs, which I posted about yesterday.
Patrick on his blog says Blunt's attitude to change in news publishing is "alarming and will have digital executives cringing".
For example, Blunt defined a Web Manager  "as an expert in cut and paste. Probably a journalist but not necessary" and Web First  as "We really have no idea how to make money from the web but by banging up every story as soon as it is written eventually someone will write us a large cheque. Won’t they?". 
Patrick comments : "This ties into the conspiracy theory – favoured by many journalists I’ve spoken to over the years – that newspapers would be profitable if the owners would only “invest in quality”. This theory holds that since newspapers once were hugely profitable (not necessarily true…) they could be again if the pagination, staffing and multiple editions came back the way they were."
But he argues: "This is not about the quality of journalism – this is about economics: The web is simply more effective for advertisers – Google ads are more effective and have less wastage than an ad in the Oxdown Gazette, no matter how good the editorial quality of the paper is."
Patrick concludes: "There really is no way around it: the solution for keeping these papers running is a digital one, whether through paywalls, e-commerce partnerships, ads, sponsorship or public money – or a complex web involving all of those. There’s no excusing the treatment of staff at the hands of greedy news plcs, but hoping for a return to the days of typewriters and print’s media monopoly won’t help at all."

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