On Wednesday, HuffPost’s parent company, Verizon Media Group, and BuzzFeed both announced plans to lay off hundreds of staff. The news signalled a collision between the dream of an online media boom and the accountants’ harsher reality: questions over the long-term profitability of digital media companies, and, as a result, concerns over the future of online journalism itself.
“What if there is literally no profitable model for digital news? Or none that actually scales and endures without, say, the established readership base and brand of the New York Times?” asked the MSNBC presenter Chris Hayes, summarising a growing fear among media executives that the current model of paying for journalism on the internet is broken.
Or perhaps this should be viewed from the other way around? Why not look at the revenue and think about what can be done with that?
Had a few contacts recently. Emails from people at HuffPo, FastCompany etc. Journos looking to write a story. And they’re using the American methods. Nothing is ever actually just said. It’s always “So and so told us that”. Which is time consuming and expensive, you’ve got to go look for the quotes which build the story the way you want it. Takes days to stitch together something this way. It’s also the American way of journalism.
The English has always been a bit more direct. And perhaps online needs it to be even simpler?
Another way to put this is if online revenues won’t support the American newsroom techniques why not go look for the techniques that will be supported by the revenues?
Entirely agreed I’m not doing it either but someone, somewhere, will.