A new age for journalism

The most recent circulation figures for paper sales in Scotland are in keeping with the downward trend.

As the sales go south so increasingly does their ability to influence the narrative.

These are the end of days for a media business model that has been in place since the late 19th century.

The people who buy newspapers are, in the main, older.

They are my age rather than my son’s generation.

He is a big bright university student, socially aware and erudite he has never bought a newspaper and he probably never will.

He opens the laptop and glances at his smart phone.

He is a digital native as are his two sisters.

The media revolution like all revolutions is a period of chaos.

Journalists who first stepped into a newspaper office over thirty years ago are now required to blog, podcast and tweet.

The old lexicon still lingers, “filing”, “copy” ,“sent to the back bench”, but the reality is changed, changed utterly.

The death of Rangers was not only the biggest sporting story in Scotland in living memory it was also the first one where new media led the way.

I understand that people inside the mainstream media tent bridle at that assertion.

However, they reason that they are irked is that they know it to be true.

The tabloids continue to sell in large numbers.

However the trend is downward.

Moreover titles like the Sun are owned by a multinational that sees their business future as digital.

The ease with which they closed the News of the World in the wake of the Millie Dowler scandal is indicative of how little papers sales means to NewsCorp.

There is a rumour in the media village that the print edition of the Guardian might not be long for this world.

Alan Rusbridger has been championing “digital first” for some time now.

The issue for digital publications is whether or not they will survive as online free sheets or will get enough people to go behind the paywall.

I have no idea how this ends, but Ken Auletta just might.

A functioning democracy still needs good journalism and that takes good professional journalists. Just consider for a second the effect that Alex Thomson has had on the Fitba Fourth estate in the last six months.

The Hackgate scandal would not have been exposed without the tenacious work of Nick Davies at the Guardian.

He was derided as “obsessed”, but he knew he was right and he had a brave editor who believed in him.

Society will continue to need his output wherever it appears.

Although Alex Thomson is a television journalist his blogs are hugely influential.

The days when  journalists would say that they worked in one sector, broadcast, print of television or radio is gone forever.

Blogs, Podcasts, Twitter, and live streaming turns all of that on its head.

One thing is certain the old media model based on print sales is on its last legs.

As the traditional media is being hit by the digital wrecking ball the colleges continue to turn out excellent young journalists.

They are the future. They’re bright, hardworking and open to the possibilities of the new age.

I find them a joy to work with.

At the same time on Planet Fitba there is a guerrilla media of citizen journalists that grows in quality and confidence.

As a Celtic supporter my own media needs are well catered for online.

This morning, as I do most days, I checked CQN.

I also read an opinion piece by the brilliant Paul Larkin.

In the aftermath of a game I will visit tictactic.

All top quality in their own way.

Professional journalism will survive; it has to for all our sakes.

However, I won’t pretend to know what the final score will be, but Planet fitba is ahead of the game, that’s for sure.

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