Traditionally, a journalists job, whether working in print media, radio or TV was to investigate and report the news. Factually.
Over the last decade, as newspaper circulation levels have tumbled due to the rise of the internet and alternative news source online rather than your traditional newspaper, they have had to adapt, change.
With less and less sales every year, circulation down 25% in just a year, newspaper groups had to move with the times. The revenue and profit was now to be from online advertising revenue, generated by clicks and hits.
Whereas 20 years ago, people used to buy their favourite newspaper, whether it be The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror or The Sport. They would rarely pick up another rag, bar perhaps on a Sunday when they would pick up a broadsheet to read in the garden all afternoon. They were set in their ways. Probably bought the same paper as their parents, and their kids would follow their ways.
In 2016, people are not as loyal. They go onto news aggregators such as News Now, or log onto Twitter, Facebook, etc, look at headlines, and decide whether to click the article. They do not care much for a source.
On a side note, this has led to a load of rubbish blogs starting up who just link to players all day long without mentioning the players name. They are not trying to report a story, they are just trying to get a hit on their website.
The likes of goal.com was one of the first ‘non blog’ news sites to start doing this as well. We now see the likes of The Metro linking hundreds of players to sides to get them clicks, to get that ad revenue.
Whilst the mainstream papers have not yet gone fully down this route – they at least have half decent sources to go with their fabricated stories – they get their hits with sensationalist headlines. And rather than report the news, they now employ more and more journalists to write opinion pieces, blogs, and then wrap them up and present them as actual news pieces.
Without realising, earlier in the week I linked to what I thought was a news article about Granit Xhaka and red cards. It wasn’t. It was an opinion piece, a blog, from Spencer Morgan, bastard son of the grass Piers. He is not a journalist who has done his time, working his way up from free local newspapers, through the system, to then become a well respected football writer. He is a jumped up twat who has got a gig writing opinion pieces for The Daily Mail due to who his dad is. But it gets hits.
And this is where the experienced time-served journalists have had to change the way they operate.
Rather than be known and paid for investigative journalism, well written articles and book deals, they are now judged on how many hits their articles get, how much ad revenue they create. And this creates a race to the bottom. Each one trying to out do the other fabricating a story, chasing the hits.
What they also need is a big online presence. A huge Twitter following. As the more that follow you on Twitter, the more that are likely to click your article when it is published online. There are some journalists (not naming names) who have clearly gotten new gigs as senior, or even chief sports writers at papers purely based on how many Twitter followers they can bring with them.
This leads to a massive dumbing down of the articles produced. As newspapers chase ad revenue with the sensationalist headlines and journalists chase followers with simplistic articles. No longer is it about the most newsworthy story, it is about the most hit-worthy story.
It is time for journalists to stop nicking a living. Write about what is happening in the world.
Report the story, don’t create the story. Stop nicking a living.