The Path from Journalism to Opinion.

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New Matilda has announced it is folding due to a lack of funds. I’m saddened for the people involved and I will miss its often amusing and sometimes incisive opinions. Although some (readers -rather than insiders) are already calling for a funding campaign- I wonder if it is simply too much of a struggle to continually crowd-source the finance to keep it going – and perhaps, completely beside the point. There is an acknowledgment here of a failed business model rather than a failed media project – there is a big difference NewMatilda was a commercial concern – love alone will not float the boat.

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I’m intrigued by the fact that this form of pro-blogging has been adopted by all the major newspapers to varying degrees (The Drum, The National Times amongst others). I wonder if this is just one more crystal in the seemingly glacial move toward the realisation among various content industries that you can’t sell what is freely given. I’m not talking about Journalism- this rise of the pro-opinion-blog hasn’t tried to sell ‘Journalism-as-we-knew -it’ – I’m talking about attention. In this sense the fold of successful and entertaining pro-opinion-blogs like New Matilda doesn’t bode well for an industry that has lazily and tardily decided to meet newmedia way more than halfway down the path that leads from newspapers to the blogs. I’m not advocating a return to some mythical past of industrial economy journalism – but more creative experimentation based on an analysis of the functions Journalism served, afforded, and realised in the industrial age and how they might translate to new media economics. I’m vaguely thinking about the the Guardian’s Open Platform as one form of relatively radical (and it don’t take much relatively speaking) rethinking and experimentation of the newspaper as the engine for a co-dependent implication of attention/news.

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Of course the implications extend well beyond the news sector…are you listening academy?

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