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Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Death of the Press

A really well thought out piece on the death of the US press, much of which is relevant over here.

More so over here, perhaps as we have Auntie Beeb. The BBC through its licence fee - where it is allowed to charge us for the right to watch other channels - is able to provide vast amounts of online material - competing directly with the newspapers - for free.

The other papers, as sales of dead trees dry up, retreat to online. They pay less money to more junior reporters to write clickbait commentary, or crowd source news from people actually at news events via Twitter. By the time some articles are merely curated Twitter timelines, you know real journalism went away a long time ago. You can see the falling-away in quality most especially, I believe, in the science and religion journalism in allegedly quality press and the BBC - as pointed out by this site repeatedly.

Even this model is failing. To raise the cash they're losing offline, the papers turn to more intrusive advertising. So the readers turn to adblockers. An arms race that will send the press the same way as coopers, pit pony handlers and Spinning Jenny operatives.

It strikes me there's two lessons I want to take out of this today. The first is that we should avoid ad blockers if we want to keep the remnants of a free press. And the second - that I am part, in  my own small way, of the problem. The time you have spent reading my blog post, you could have spent reading an article on a newspaper site, with ads.  You now have time to read one fewer article.

I'd skip the one by Polly Toynbee, if I were you.

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