Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Inflation and the Crazy Crypto Markets - 23rd Oct 21
Easy PC Upgrades with Motherboard Combos - Overclockers UK Unboxing - MB, Memory and Ryzen 5600x CPU - 23rd Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks Q3 2021 - 23rd Oct 21
Gold calmly continues cobbling its Handle, Miners lay in wait - 23rd Oct 21
US Economy Has Been in an Economic Depression Since 2008 - 22nd Oct 21
Extreme Ratios Point to Gold and Silver Price Readjustments - 22nd Oct 21
Bitcoin $100K or Ethereum $10K—which happens first? - 22nd Oct 21
This Isn’t Sci-Fi: How AI Is About To Disrupt This $11 Trillion Industry - 22nd Oct 21
Ravencoin RVN About to EXPLODE to NEW HIGHS! Last Chance to Buy Before it goes to the MOON! - 21st Oct 21
Stock Market Animal Spirits Returning - 21st Oct 21
Inflation Advances, and So Does Gold — Except That It Doesn’t - 21st Oct 21
Why A.I. Is About To Trigger The Next Great Medical Breakthrough - 21st Oct 21
Gold Price Slowly Going Nowhere - 20th Oct 21
Shocking Numbers Show Government Crowding Out Real Economy - 20th Oct 21
Crude Oil Is in the Fast Lane, But Where Is It Going? - 20th Oct 21
3 Tech Stocks That Could Change The World - 20th Oct 21
Best AI Tech Stocks ETF and Investment Trusts - 19th Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks: Will Investors Dump the Laggards? - 19th Oct 21
The Most Exciting Medical Breakthrough Of The Decade? - 19th Oct 21
Prices Rising as New Dangers Point to Hard Assets - 19th Oct 21
It’s not just Copper; GYX indicated cyclical the whole time - 19th Oct 21
Chinese Tech Stocks CCP Paranoia, VIES - Variable Interest Entities - 19th Oct 21
Inflation Peaked Again, Right? - 19th Oct 21
Gold Stocks Bouncing Hard - 19th Oct 21
Stock Market New Intermediate Bottom Forming? - 19th Oct 21
Beware, Gold Bulls — That’s the Beginning of the End - 18th Oct 21
Gold Price Flag Suggests A Big Rally May Start Soon - 18th Oct 21
Inflation Or Deflation – End Result Is Still Depression - 18th Oct 21
A.I. Breakthrough Could Disrupt the $11 Trillion Medical Sector - 18th Oct 21
US Economy and Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 17th Oct 21
The Gold Price And Inflation - 17th Oct 21
Went Long the Crude Oil? Beware of the Headwinds Ahead… - 17th Oct 21
Watch These Next-gen Cloud Computing Stocks - 17th Oct 21
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Downsizing the News Staff; Downsizing Quality and Credibility - Part 2

Politics / Mainstream Media Dec 08, 2015 - 05:05 PM GMT

By: Walter_Brasch

Politics

For more than a decade, advertising, circulation, and news quality in both print and electronic media have been in a downward spiral. That spiral has twin intertwining roots.

The first root is the rise of social media. The complacent and stodgy print media were slow to catch onto the concept and rise of social media and its influence upon a generation that conducts its life by a fusion of smart phones to ears. When owners figured out they needed to have a digital presence, they first gave away content in a desperate bid to keep readers, and then began to charge for it to those who didn’t have subscriptions.


Like their TV cousins—CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC—newspapers became 24/7 operations, with reporters now expected not only to find the stories, do the research, report, and write stories for one edition a day, but also to rewrite and update their stories for the newspaper’s website. It wasn’t long until editors had print reporters take small portable cameras and their cell phones into the field to also transmit visual stories to the newspaper’s copy desk. The result is a diminished quality as reporters now have more work to do in a time frame that keeps increasing, but are working with the same salaries and benefits.

The second root is the Great Recession, which began about December 2007 during the last year of the Bush–Cheney administration when the bubble manipulated by financial institutions, with minimal governmental oversight, finally burst. The recession ended about June 2009, six months into the Obama administration.

For years, media owners had been wallowing in 10–30 percent annual profits, near the top of all industries, didn’t put their income into improving their properties and their news operations, but took the money and increased shareholder returns, thus keeping their own jobs.

With the Great Recession, business cut back on advertising. This led to fewer news pages and then to narrower page sizes as publishers began to cut expenses. The Great Recession also led to readers with less disposable income cancelling their subscriptions. The business model for newspapers is that higher circulation means higher rates for advertising; conversely, lower circulation means publishers charge less per column inch for advertising, leading to less profit. In most newspapers, advertising accounts for about 70–80 percent of revenue.

When profits continued to shrink, owners and their financial staff and analysts, few of whom ever had to chase a story, cut back staff, froze salaries and benefits.

Cutting back staff means that whoever is left not only has to transmit video from the field and rewrite stories for the paper’s website, they are now forced to increase their own productivity to cover stories that the laid-off reporters once covered, and not cover certain stories that should have been covered. Over time, this has led to a decrease in the quality of both reporting and writing, and a decrease in investigative and in-depth reporting, which takes both time and resources.

At one time, newspapers had proofreaders, whose job was to make sure news stories had no spelling and grammar errors. But, to increase profits, publishers eliminated proofreaders, giving their work to the copy desk. Copyeditors check reporters’ stories for accuracy, often asking reporters to fill holes in their stories or to verify certain facts. Copyeditors also tighten stories, moving sentences and paragraphs to improve readability, flow, and to assure that the most important information isn’t buried somewhere in the middle of the story. Copyeditors also delete unnecessary verbiage and news source quotes that don’t add anything to the story. They write the headlines, format reporters’ copy and place it onto the page. Copyeditors, along with city editors and managing editors, also decide what stories should get larger headlines and what pages they should go onto to give readers a roadmap of importance.

As publishers began laying off copyeditors, the finesse of the copydesk has been replaced by “Shovel Editing”—take a shovel and throw what you have onto the page.

With fewer staff, owners decided that filling what is left of the diminishing news hole, caused by less advertising, is more economical if they use syndicated material—perhaps a feature from several states away now dumped onto a local page but with no local angle, packaged entertainment news that spills the salacious news about some celebrity’s forthcoming divorce, or more press releases, which are barely edited or verified because copyeditors are already overworked. Some newspapers have filled their pages with bloated stories about misdemeanors, largely handed to them by police departments and by larger photos of car crashes and check-passing ceremonies that take up space that once would have been used for news stories.

As newspapers began their descent, circulation decreased—partially because other online sources became more prevalent, largely because newspaper content had become soft. Many local newspapers, under the direction of editors willing to stand up for journalistic credibility, have maintained an excellent news operation. But overall, during the past decade, Americans turned to a comedy cable channel, tuned in Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for 44 minutes of truth four times a week, and tuned out ink on newsprint.

The economy has rebounded; unemployment is down to 5 percent. The average wage for a newly-minted liberal arts graduate is about $41,000, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. For a new reporter, it’s about $10,000–$15,000 a year lower, according to a study from the University of Georgia. More important, some of the better graduates of journalism programs are planning for careers in PR, advertising, and other non-news fields.

Profits should be rising for newspaper groups. But, owners still give no or just minimal raises to their editorial staff, and they haven’t replaced the jobs lost during the past decade.

The soul of a newspaper is its newsroom, something many owners say but never believe. While downsizing the news rooms, owners’ actions have caused a further downsizing in media credibility and have directly led to a downward spiral in the viability of both print and broadcast media.

The solution to stopping the decline is to restore jobs to the newsroom, hire the best reporter–writers and editors, ones who have a broad knowledge of culture and society, pay them decent wages, give them better benefits, give them time to develop, report, and then write in-depth stories. While doing this, owners need to disregard financial experts who throw useless verbiage and skewed statistics that focus solely upon the “bottom line” and how to “maximize profits. They need to stop hiring $500 an hour media consultants, more adept at massaging statistics than in reporting social issues, who claim readers want shorter news stories, shorter columns, flashy graphics, and prefer crime and entertainment stories.

When a solid news product re-emerges, the readers will return. When the circulation increases, so will the advertisers and the revenue.

[Dr. Brasch is author of ‘Unacceptable’: The Federal Government’s Response to Hurricane Katrina, the first major book that looked at the causes, problems, and effects of the storm. He and Rosemary Brasch, two years before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, had written a series of articles that predicted the United States was not prepared for a major disaster.]

[Dr. Brasch’s current book is Fracking Pennsylvania, which looks at the impact of fracking upon public health, worker safety, the environment, and agriculture. The book--available at local bookstores and amazon. com--also looks at the financial collusion between politicians and Big Energy.]

By Walter M Brasch PhD

http://www.walterbrasch.com

Copyright 2015 Walter M Brasch
Walter Brasch is a university journalism professor, syndicated columnist, and author of 17 books. His current books are America's Unpatriotic Acts , The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina , and Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture . All are available through amazon.com, bn.com, or other bookstores. You may contact Dr. Brasch at walterbrasch@gmail.com

Walter Brasch Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in