Wednesday, 5 January 2011
What stories will there be left to lift when all the news gathering reporters are gone?
I think there is a wider question to the complaint by the Solent news agency that its exclusive interview with the father of murdered Jo Yeates was lifted by PA as soon as it went up online at the Southern Daily Echo.
That is how many journalists are gathering news - and how many are just processing and repackaging it?
The quote that struck me was from Solent's David Holt: "Since Ms Yeates went missing we have had a team of reporters working on the story every day.
"It has been difficult to cover; terribly moving and upsetting. Four of our staff have had first-hand contact with Mr and Mrs Yeates over the past week. They worked right through Christmas and our reporters were visibly upset when news came through that a body had been found."
Holt contrasted this door-stepping news gathering to what Solent says was PA's explanation of how it got the story: "We saw it on Sky and we went looking for it. We found it on the Southern Daily Echo website and we put it out."
Last year two independent news agencies, Raymonds and Kent News and Pictures, went bust. News agencies have suffered from the ever decreasing rates paid by the national press but also because it is so easy to lift stories and pictures from the internet. Exclusives don't stay exclusive for long.
Everywhere I look, on newspapers, magazines and news agencies, there are less journalists than there used to be.
If more independent news agencies are forced out of business there will be even less reporters at the sharp end gathering news - and far less stories to lift.