Sunday, May 10, 2015

Seven Reasons Journalism Is Now Dead

Actually, I don't have seven reasons, I was just doing a bit of click harvesting there.

But that is the first reason. Apparently putting a number in the headline increases your click thru rates (through is so old school journalism) by 23.4% (I made that up, but in journalism today you're allowed to do that because there's always some snippet of information out there that will back up this or any other statistic.

Of course, journals are now performance monitored machines who are valued based on the numbers of views they can harvests for their vast media conglomerates. As the recent UK election shows, any kind of deviation from the presumed reality is not countenanced, and even quantitative based reporting is likely to be wrong.

It wasn't the political class that had their world torn up before their eyes over the past few weeks, it was the media class, and journalists in particular. Just as buying and doing up houses, repairing cars, gardening allotments, sewing and baking have been turned from hobbies into prime time TV, so journalism has fallen to the sound bites.

I'm utterly amazed that we haven't yet had a TV talent competition to run for Parliament, but you can just see it coming. Actually, with the entertainment value of UKIP there was no need for scripted actureality. TOWIF, the only way is Farage.

But the real problem is that we now only have three types of journalists left in the media jungle: the privileged and patronising rich liberals with their million pound flats, writing about the poor and the undervalued ("The Toynbees"), the journalists who are just more mouthpieces for billionaires and who are little more than serfs on the island of Alderney ("The Murdochites") and then we have rest of of us, The Amateurs, who increasingly populate the voracious empty spaces of the Internet with inane lists, comments and photos: we're cheap, or even free, and some of us even hope to make a profession out of this, but that will depend on our ability to build and retain an audience: the ability to write considered pieces, to construct what used to be called journalism, the ability to tell a good story even, has long been subsumed by the need for ratings. The journalists' currency used to be words, now it's clicks and audiences.

So there, I shall leave someone more up to date than me with structuring content for the Internet to re-organise this article into seven bullet points...