For a long time now, we’ve been listening to the rumble that has heralded the apparent wholesale demise of newspapers. From around the world, horror tales abound of long-established broadsheets shutting their doors. Now whether that is true or not, journalists need to realise that this doesn’t mean the end of their careers. In fact, the cards have been dealt in their favour.
Traditionally, newspapers were run by ruthless, opportunistic vampires who used the need of the people to stay up to date with the latest information to create a platform for advertisers to “reach” those same people. Now with the shift of control to the consumer in terms of when and how information is consumed, advertisers are finding their print-based advertising ignored – with the knock-on effect that newspapers are finding it hard to shift their archaic revenue models and stay viable.
Journalists need to know that they now hold the power. They are the news-providers, newspapers are just the dissemination-platform of the time. And their time has come. Newspaper owners don’t win prizes for scoops; journalists do. If you’re a good journalist, you can be bigger than the New York Times ever was and earn money as you go.
Can it be that simple?
Why not? You are a brand. Get the scoop interviews. Get the pictures first. Build your reputation as a credible source of news or spin yourself into being the go-to expert in your chosen field of reporting. You don’t need a newspaper to get your story out there. Set up a website, get the word out, set up a subscription model and charge people for delivering real news to them.
Sure, you’ll be going up against free services and the current established newspapers but as porn has proved, eventually people will pay for the added value stuff.
And the hacks will disappear as the natural order of things dictates. Darwin would have been proud.