Political economy analysis of news media

It is thought that the traditional way of delivering news, through print journalism, is in crisis. The next ten years are predicted to be bad for newspapers according to Barry Parr of Jupiter Research after there has already been a 19% decreased in the amount of British adults reading newspapers between 1992 and 2006 (HoL 2008:11) as well as a decrease in the amount of news watched on television. This is due to the fact that the younger audience are more likely to use the internet to find out news, as news is easily accessible via social networking and news pages on the internet which has grown in recent years.

Due to the reliance on revenue within newspapers there is a growing concern for two sources:

  • the final consumers – people who buy the print journalism will not be spending money on the newspapers to make a profit
  • the advertisers – due to the fact no one is buying the newspapers no press can be shown in advertising, therefore a drop in their sales also.

However, luckily for advertisers the internet makes it easy to connect to the public directly, possibly breaking the link between advertising and editorial boundaries. But due to the degeneration of the existing news business model, Max Alexander, former director of Trinity Mirror, says that news organisations must ‘recreate the business in the light of the challenge of the internet’ in order to remain relevant in the digital future.

Yet some media organisations are uncertain about how to approach online activity and have ended up cost cutting and increasing productivity, meaning that many journalists are multi skilling and working to two deadlines – again coming back to the idea of ‘churnalism’. In my opinion to boost internet popularity for a news organisation it is essential to employ extra staff to ‘restructure’ the way in which the company works. This also gives the chance for diversification, something which worked well for the Daily Mail, however it does create a problem in that journalists forget their main aim which is to write ‘hard’ news, not just what the public want to know but what they need to know.

News organisations need to invest in original journalism, and granted the internet presents a genuine challenge. But news providers need to stick to their prime source of value ‘to act as trusted advisors to which people turn to gain orientation, reflection and direction.’ (Picard, 2006, 135)

 

References:

  • Comeforo, K (2010) Review of Herman and Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing consent: the Political economy of the mass media’
  • Freedman, D (2010), The Political Economy of the ‘New’ News Environment – New Media, Old News.
  • Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Chapter 5, Media texts, production and context. 
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