On print and online journalism (again)

19 06 2009

UPDATED (June 20th, 2009)

Inspired by a number of recent blogs by Cody Brown, Jay Rosen, Charles Arthur, Robert Picard, Michael Arrington, I’ve tried to list a number of basic differences between print journalism and online journalism. This is very much a mind-mapping exercise, so feel free to comment and share your views.


I’m assuming that most of the list categories are rather straightforward, but let me elaborate on what I call ‘product’,  ‘authorship’, ‘authority’ and ‘context’.  Read the rest of this entry »

Print journalism as emotion, on weekends

30 05 2009

At last month’s European Newspaper Congress, Juan A. Giner and Mario Garcia introduced their so-called 30/30 model of print journalism. Basically, it’s what The Economist has been doing for some time now: an online, 24/7 news hub and a high quality print news mag on weekends, focusing on analysis and opinion.

Giner calls this ‘news caviar’ (as opposed to ‘news porridge’ I guess): an aesthetically pleasing, selective and easy to read, pocket sized newszine, written in a crisp, ‘newsy’ fashion. My takeaway from all this: journalism is here to stay. The medium is changing. That’s all. Is there still a market for print journalism? I think so, but not for the newspapers we know today. You know, the ones that regurgitate yesterday’s news or that ‘please politicians’.

1.1.1 Print journalism and applied linguistics

9 05 2009

***This is an outdated version. Please do not cite or reproduce in any way.***

Newspapers occupy a prominent position in the news media ecology. This is due to the fact that (i) newspapers are one of the oldest and most widespread forms of mass media; (ii) newspapers traditionally employ more journalists than other news media; and (iii) the professional values for which newspapers stand are seen as industry-wide standards of journalistic practice[1]. Over the years, much ink has been spilled over the values that the press subscribe to (and debates over standards of quality and ethics still rage, as will be shown), but by and large, the principles that Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel spell out in The Elements of Journalism are widely recognized as elementary. These nine elements are: Read the rest of this entry »

“As a medium and as an institution”

21 02 2009

the newspaper is going through an age of transition in excelsis, and nobody can confidently say how it will end or what will come next.
– Joseph Epstein

More uplifting quotes on print journalism at journalism-is-dead.com, a website featuring

a collection of the alarmist, bombastic and otherwise humorous quotes about why journalism is dead. The future of media may be grim, but according to some, you’d think it was a sign of the apocalypse.  Check it out, have a laugh, and keep in mind the medium may change but journalism is here to stay.

The public service ideal of newspapers

20 02 2009

In What Newspapers Do, Have Done and Will Do, NY Times journalist Eduardo Potter defends the societal role of newspapers. Potter argues that if “newspapers go bust there will be nobody watching city hall”:

corruption will rise, legislation will more easily be captured by vested interests and voter turnout will fall.

That newspapers are the ‘social cement’ of democracies is old news. The public service ideal of newspapers – exposing wrong doing, providing unbiased information, mobilizing the public – is articulated in a variety of nicknames (the ‘fourth estate’, the ‘watchdog’ of society) and adages (‘to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted) about the press.

I agree mostly with what Potter writes. In spite of my optimism about citizen journalism and pessimism about the future of print journalism, I too, remain sceptical about the Internet’s potential of enabling “a better-informed citizenry”.

Good on the crisis in print journalism

28 01 2009

Who’s (still) reading US newspapers wonders Good Magazine? Apparently, more people do on weekends than during the week. Based on (outdated) 2006 Audit Bureau of Circulations data, Good concludes that the majority of US newspapers with large circulations “are not reaching all the readers that they should be reaching”.

This reminds me of NY Times columnist Joe Nocera’s answer to the question ‘Does cutting staff cut the market value of newspapers?’ To him, it’s a chicken-or-egg question. If news quality is degraded by staff cuts, does that move feed on declining circulation numbers? Or, is the decline in circulation driving the need to cut staff?