Stories about shrinking newsrooms and more people turning to social media to find breaking stories aren’t new.
But I came across four articles this week (via my social networks) which struck me as being a) a bit sad b) a bit alarming but c) not too surprising.
Those pieces began with More bad news for Fairfax as MMP axes seven titles. The article reported that “Thirty-two employees will lose their jobs at the part-Fairfax-owned Metro Media Publishing after the suburban newspaper company announced an unprecedented closure of seven Melbourne mastheads this morning.”
Then I read Could iPhones replace news photographers? The Chicago Sun-Times thinks so which reported the following in relation to the Chicago Sun-Times:
“ … last week the paper did something unimaginable: it laid off its entire staff of 28 full-time photographers. While it’s no secret newspapers across the country are struggling to make ends meet, the move by Sun-Times goes beyond just budget cuts. Citing a need for more video content, the Sun-Times will utilize freelance photographers and require its reporters to shoot photos and videos for the stories they cover.”
The third piece – this article yesterday via mumbrella: AAP restructure sees loss of 20-25 editorial jobs reported that “Newswire service the Australian Associated Press has announced a restructure that will see a 10 per cent cut across editorial and will result in the loss of 20-25 editorial jobs.”
The final article of my little reading collection was this post I read today: When sources can go direct, do we need journalism less or do we need it more than ever? It was a good piece, which discussed how people can use social media to obtain information ‘from the horse’s mouth’ and how politicians are using social networks as their broadcast tools. The article said “ … politicians can now reach out to their supporters much more effectively by detouring around the traditional media”. However this may not be a disaster for journalism, according to the author:
“Looked at another way, however, this allows journalists of all kinds — both professional and amateur or “citizen” journalists — to move up the value chain” because “it should free up a whole class of reporters to do more value-added journalism that explains what things mean, or questions the statements of politicians.”
What do you think?
Is it high time that we ditched traditional media outlets, knowing they have their own bias, weakness and drawbacks? Or do we need the Fourth Estate now more than ever, when misinformation, myth, ghost-tweeters and propaganda is so difficult to spot?