I think, from feedback I have received beyond this blog, that there is some confusion with regards to the importance I attach to journalism.
I want to clear this up now. I think a free press is massively important as a tool to help preserve democracy and to keep people informed about issues that they feel are relevant to their lives. My concern is finding ways to fund journalists in the future.
The thing is the act of journalism and the business that sustains it are two different things.
The business aspect has occupied my thoughts because I may care about journalism, but that doesn’t mean the market does. It is this point that has been put across very eloquently by Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0:
The web is the most disruptive force in the history of media, by many orders of magnitude, destroying every assumption on which traditional media businesses are based.
But the market should care, you say. What would happen if we didn’t have the newspapers playing their Fourth Estate watch dog role?
Here’s the bitter truth — the feared loss of civic value is not the basis for a BUSINESS.
The problem with the newspaper industry, as with the music industry before it, is the sense of ENTITLEMENT. What we do is valuable. Therefore we have the right to make money.
Nobody has the right to a business model.
Ask not what the market can do for you, but what you can do for the market.
This is the best analysis and assessment of the disruptive nature of digital that I have seen yet.