Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is wrong with me? (An ongoing oddessy)

I have a blog? Oh yeah! That's right!

Anyhow, sorry for not writing for a while for those of you who summon up the courage and possibly masochism to read this blog. As you may know I've tossed my hat into the ring for The West cadetship while starting a new job so my bank balance doesn't seem so depressing.

Anyhow, some of the people I've told my ambitions to have said things along the lines of 'why do you want to work in print, ain't print dead?', and it's a fair point. Why would I want to work in a medium where journalists are being asked to do more work for less money for a shrinking audience?

Because it's dying.

'Huh? You want to work for a medium that's dying?'. Yes, yes I do. You see, I've never been much of an optimist at the best of times (I used to take bets as to how exactly I'd get out back in junior cricket days) but something about working in a dying medium excites me.

It's because newspapers will not go quietly into the night but instead the newspaper men will try to do anything and everything to save their beloved medium. Media in general is a sector which really rewards innovation while stagnant publications will go into decline and stop existing (a la Bulletin) in a physical format.

To be working in a sector which is trying to innovate, regardless of the inspiration of said innovation, is something which I think has the potential to be professionally rewarding. Already you can see newspapers trying to innovate.

The move from respected publications into the realm of tabloid smacks of desperation from a dying medium and looking long term you can see it not working. While a sensationalist headline may sell you a few more papers than usual you can't base a business model on intermittent sales based on shock value. It's just not a long term plan which I personally see working.

Instead, there's been whispers around that the future of print may be in the past. When newspapers were about intelligent debate, discussion and insight into the issues at hand. The newspapers of tomorrow have had the immediacy of the news stolen from it, and it wont get it back but if you raise the level of journalism in the newspapers then you'll create a product which people may shell out two dollars for.

People will always want to read quality journalism, and while the numbers won't be as grand as they once were newspapers will carve out their own niche in the media landscape. It won't be dead, it will just look different.

To get in on the ground floor of that particular shift is something which exites me, and I can only pray to various deities that the newspaper men (kind of like the mad men, no?) have the foresight and courage to take the step of venturing forth in a bold new direction. To go forward, we must go back.

Till next time

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