Which direction should journalism studies take?
There are multiple options and Jane B. Singer makes a compelling case for choosing to educate future journalists to be entrepreneurs.
Most academic research on journalism has looked into the skillset and work practices of a traditional newsroom. But the majority of journalists today are no longer employed there and have left – most of them because of cutbacks. Instead, many of them become freelancers or small business owners.
One of the large changes within the role of a self employed journalist is that one has to set up a value proposition – and cross that border between business and journalism that has been upheld in the legacy media. The term defines radio, television, and especially newspapers that has no interaction with its users / audience.
The Death of Legacy Media
The legacy media rests on former economic and political environments that no longer exist. Millennial consumption of these types of media is minimal and likely to decline further.
Like any other crumbled monopoly, the news media today is facing the daunting task of reinventing itself now that information truly flows free and wild. For the past century, the media has been build on two revenue sources, audiences and advertisers. And now both of them are in decline, we need a new breed of journalists, Singer argues.
We need business savvy journalists because digital start-ups with free content with a diversified revenue stream from event hosting to crow funding and consultancy services have proven successful. In that mix is also native advertising and non-profit journalism. Singer concludes that the entrepreneurial journalist is much needed because:
“For the legacy journalists who leave a traditional newsroom to join or create their own news enterprise, perhaps the most jarring change the encounter is the dramatic narrowing of the distance between themselves and two key (and overlapping) constituencies: those who consume their product and those who finance it.” (page 204.)
The “division of church and state” within journalism – the separation of editorial and commercial activities – is no longer a given in this day and age. This prospect may be frightening to legacy news journalists, however it may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to making journalism valuable to its customers.
Which other types of journalist would be relevant to educate? Read the blog on the book Den Journalistiske Forbindelse and the engaging journalist here.
Want to explore the essays on the future of journalism? Find the book here.