“by some measures, journalism has never been healthier. And there’s every reason to believe that it is actually getting stronger because of the web, not weaker — regardless of what’s happening to print”
Are jobs being lost? Yep. Are publications shutting down? Yep. But are readers getting more of what they want? Yep.
My only worry with this optimistic take on the current situation is that, despite years of worrying about it, and over a decade of confident assertions that hyperlocal “citizen journalism” will fill the void left as uneconomic newspapers shut down, there is still a major risk that many communities will be left without a reliable source of local news coverage.
I’m based in London, so there are any number of hyperlocal Twitter accounts and small blogs covering the area, but none of these are comprehensive, even combined, and few have the skills or abilities to dig deeper into what’s going on in the local council. Local newspapers were never especially economically worthwhile, but they did (well, sometimes) provide a valuable public service in holding local government to account – something they were only really able to do because of the level of access they were afforded by their permanent, professional position.
On a local level, as local papers shut, the most common publication to fill the void isn’t a blogger, it’s an official local government publication – we’re replacing public service for propaganda.