The Business Side of Journalism

As technology advances and news becomes easier to attain, journalism (specifically newspaper companies) will continue to have a growing problem when it comes to revenue. Before the days of internet and social media, newspapers were a main source of news and even entertainment. As noted by Nicco Mele in the podcast we listened to in class, newspaper companies made a ridiculous amount of revenue back then. Today, however, is very different. Nowadays, due to the internet, people can gather endless news and entertainment for little to usually no cost to them from websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. Of course this will become popular. If someone can get the same news for free then why wouldn’t they? But as we discussed in class this can be very damaging to the world of journalism and even to our world in general as a lot of the accurate and trustworthy information comes from newspapers. In addition to that a lot of television news and other forms of news often source newspapers as their main sources for stories. We found this to be true from the comical yet accurate video we watched in class this past week. If newspapers go out of business because people stop paying for their news altogether, it is very possible that we might end up getting news that is not accurately sourced, or even just inaccurate in general and potentially biased.

So what can we do to help combat this potential problem? Well Nicco Mele sparked a couple of ideas for me after listening to the assigned podcast. First I would like to mention  that I think it is essential to educate people on why it is so important to stop this trend of free news to continue. This could be challenging since people are so used to not having to pay for news now, but I think it is important to understand how this can effect the accuracy of news, and why it is important to have the accurate, trustworthy and non-biased news that newspapers bring to the table. Mele stated in the podcast that he believes if this trend of free news continues, then one-third or maybe even one-half of newspaper companies will go out of business within the next three to five years. So unless something changes soon, we might end up getting news about kittens and raccoons rather than important political topics as the funny video we watched comically depicted.

There are a few things I think we can do to prevent this trend of free news from continuing. The main thing that stuck out to me from the podcast was the idea of subscription based models of making revenue. What this meant to me was having people pay maybe a monthly fee or something of that source to get access to the news they want to receive. There was another method that Mele mentioned, but it would not work as good and that is for good reason. The method is to pay for each piece, like iTunes has people pay

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$2.99 for each song they buy. The reason this works for iTunes and why it wouldn’t work for news is because there is only one iTunes so you are forced to buy it there since there is no other place to get the song from. Meanwhile in news there are many other places you can get the same news from for free. That being said, the only idea that sticks out to me in my mind to make revenue for news would be to have subscriptions. Now the big question is can we get a majority of people to hop on this idea even though they are used to free news? I guess we will find out in the next three to five years.

Are These Reporters Vultures?

Typically when I think of reporters I think of people who don’t really connect or relate to the stories they write about. Rather, I think of them as people who just go in, get the facts, write the story and move on. I feel as though many reporters just have their own agenda and aren’t always careful even if their story covers a sensitive issue such as a child dying from cancer. Now maybe my view of this isn’t true. After all I do not have significant experience in journalism or motives of reporters. That is just how I feel. That being said, it was refreshing to read about Diana Sugg. She really truly cared about the story she was working on and she really tried to approach it carefully since it was such a sensitive topic. I am sure there are many reporters of her kind, but I personally don’t hear of them very often.

You could really tell how much she cared because of many different things. One example is how careful she continuously was in asking her questions. Whether she was asking R.J. questions or asking his mother questions, she was always very careful and tried not to push to hard or cross the line. She also always emphasized being appropriate; not pushing to hard, and not seeming as though she didn’t care at all. She tried to find the sweet spot in between those two extremes.

Another way I could tell that she cared was how much time she spent not only working on the story, but how long she waited to publish the story after R.J. past away. She really put a lot of thought into writing this story and this goes along with what I spoke of earlier on how she always carefully asked questions.But it also seems as though she gave a lot of time to reflect whether or not she should continue with this story. She constantly battled with herself whether or not it would help other dying children or if it would hurt R.J.’s mother Michele.

Finally another way I saw the amount of care she put into the story was how involved she was in the lives of who she was writing the story about. Diana and her photographer Monica spent countless days with R.J. and his mother Michele. They became close with each other. Diana helped R.J. from time to time with medical things and she even sat down and played a game of chess with him, whether it was unprofessional or not. Even after R.J. died Diana kept in contact with his mother everyday and she even seemed to be someone that his mother could rely on since the father had been gone and her family members

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weren’t around. A reporter who was just trying to follow their agenda wouldn’t put this amount of time or thought into the subjects of their story. Diana truly cared about the topic and the people who were involved in it. For that reason I do not believe that Diana and Monica are vultures. Yes they may have had to ask questions and take pictures. But they were careful and thoughtful in the way that they approached it, and that payed off. Her story helped many people who were going through similar situations, and that might be because she followed her heart rather than her agenda.