25 Nov 2008 8:25 am   //   Filed under: Media

Two storylines about the state of journalism

Story 1: Journalism is dying because journalists now must compete with bloggers and other user-generated online media. Citizen journalism is gaining in influence as volunteer enthusiasts realize they can cover the news as well as or better than the dinosaur media. The democratization of media means professional journalists can no longer cling to power as the gatekeepers of information. The only way professional journalists will survive is to immerse themselves in new technologies – TypePad, Flip video, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Story 2: Journalism is dying because, for all known memory, it has been bankrolled by traditional advertising, and traditional advertising is in a slump. Companies are cutting ad budgets because of the recession. Moreover, advertisers are finding better ROI in lower-cost, higher-impact marketing of all sorts, from product placements in TV shows to sponsorship of events. Online advertising is still a low-impact, paper-thin segment that commands far lower rates than traditional broadcast and print. The only way professional journalists will survive is to apply their skills to specialty publications that cater to specific, advertiser-friendly audiences, or seek other sources of funding such as grants, donations and corporate underwriting.

One of these stories is true. The other is 95% hype. Do you know which is which?