Where is the Taylor Swift of news? Not for glamour or youth, though lord knows the business could do with both, but someone with the singer’s ability to convince technology companies to pay for their work.
Within days of Swift asking Apple to pay musicians royalties during a trial of its streaming service, one of the world’s largest technology companies had succumbed to the youngest person to be included on Forbes’ most powerful women list.
There are so many reasons a letter starting “Dear Apple” and ending “love Rupert” would not have the same impact. Yet the entire news industry, and not just Rupert Murdoch, has allowed the idea of news as a no-value commodity to take hold – with a report from Syria or the Federal Reserve as interesting to advertisers as one of the 4m mentions of laundry posted on Facebook each day, or possibly less so.
There is only one Taylor Swift.
And there’s tens of thousands of people who can and do churn out news pieces. As Jane Martinson and, erm, Tim Worstall show. As any random perusal of Google News shows, there’s simply no shortage of people willing and able to churn out 500 words on whatever. Thus the ability to churn out 500 words on whatever is not highly valued.
It’s this supply and demand thing. It really does work you know.
Think it was someone here, mebbe even Timmy himself, who said that theres nothing the Media hack classes despise more than a member of the hoi-polloi coining it in a Low Trade (football, pop music, etc).
There are hordes of graduates desperate to snag an unpaid internship at the Skittering-on-the-Wold Gazette in the hopes that, they too, may one day be able to be a professional chin-stroker in NW1.
All the whining from the Arrabella and Rafes shitting out copy for the Guardian ain’t gonna change that. Quite brings a smile to my face it does.
Hmm. I’d say Timmy’s stuff is more commentary than news. Maybe one day you’ll be first on the scene of a Jihadi Beheading in Usti (well, second on the scene, no, make that third on the scene, would be preferable), but otherwise it’s more commentary.
And there’s a yawning gulf between the reporting of news in the old-fashioned way and the trillions of gigabytes of dross along the lines of “10 things you didn’t know about XYZ” that is – funnily enough – stuff that does get paid for.
Strangely, being good at uncovering and reporting news involves having a talent/ nose for uncovering and reporting news. No amount of bullshit “degrees” in journalism actually endow that talent. Many “journalists” are entirely unsuited to their supposed line of work–unless that line were to be reclassified as “propagandist”.
The “10 Things you didn’t know..” crapola is the modern equivalent of the writing on the back of cigarette/bubblegum cards.
My wife does a little bit of journalism. She thought she was ill paid until she learnt what the others were getting.
Yet the entire news industry, and not just Rupert Murdoch, has allowed the idea of news as a no-value commodity to take hold
No, people have just realised that news is a no-value commodity. If it had value then people, me included, would be willing to continue to pay for it. But it isn’t, so we’re not.
There are still very decent livings to be made in journalism.
People are prepared to pay, often substantially, for useful information which cannot be obtained elsewhere. News is not necessarily a ‘no value commodity’;
“News is not necessarily a ‘no value commodity’;”
As Clint Eastwood observed in “A Fistful of Dollars”–“In these parts a man’s life can depend on a mere scrap of information”.
I say this with no supporting evidence whatsoever, but I would hazard a guess that most if not all of the greatest journalists in history never came within five miles of a degree in journalism.
People are prepared to pay, often substantially, for useful information which cannot be obtained elsewhere. News is not necessarily a ‘no value commodity.
Yes, there are specialist news services which do add value, such as business news, but they are not the mainstream. Which UK national newspapers get away with a paywall? The Times manages it, as does The Sun, but even the Sun is rolling that back a bit.