One of the things Joe and I immediately liked about each other was our feelings around journalism. We had both had journalism educations, tried working out there in the world, and come away disillusioned. We are both more than willing to rip the media apart for doing things badly, but we also both feel very defensive of journalists and journalism.
It’s a fine balance.
A lot of newspapers have been putting paywalls on their content here in Canada in the past year or two. I was happy this happened after I left my job as media analyst because it would have made the work more complicated, but I understood the need for paywalls. Reporters earn very little money, papers are losing advertising, publishing costs money too, something had to give.
What I truly love about journalism has been demonstrated since newspapers started paywalls.
After the bombing at the Boston Marathon and throughout the man hunt the Boston Globe was an excellent source for keeping people up to date. When a train and bus crashed in Ottawa the Ottawa Citizen was all over the story. Both of these events were published outside the paywall. In the case of the Boston Globe I saw someone ask the question why wouldn’t they put that stuff behind the paywall? That’s stuff people want to know and they would pay to read it.
The answer is simple: Because journalism at its best is about delivering news that people NEED to hear. When something that important is happening journalists go back to their roots of spreading news so people can find it and respond.
I went in to journalism because I have always loved finding things out and then telling other people. That’s also why I was so good at media monitoring and analysis: “This is important and you need to know this NOW.”
I’d love it if people would pay for the every day content because they know that the breaking, life-changing stuff will come for free, but I fear for real journalism.