An excellent journalist on the future of the newspaper

Three excellent blog posts by Paul Willcocks on the fate of the newspaper:  what went wrong and what can go right.  Read all three posts and start thinking.

A couple of things that that occurred to me:  Isn’t the ownership model an important aspect of what kind of information we seek?

And Paul writes that it’s time to experiment broadly.  I agree, although I don’t think that’s the kind of thing that happens without the commitment of deep pockets and that’s just not available to media in Canada, right now.

Still, it seems to me that the big fail in media and the place it’s least likely to experiment but most important to do so is in investigative journalism.  You can count the number of stories in the entire country on one hand that are being generated through a commitment to investigative journalism. (BTW the Globe’s coverage of Harper’s northern tour strikes a new low.  How close are they sleeping in that tent?).  But the need for the same just in the Senate is obvious.

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3 Responses to An excellent journalist on the future of the newspaper

  1. Paul Willcocks says:

    Thanks for the kind words.
    I agree investigative journalism is a useful area to focus on to see if it attracts readers. It needs a new approach though. Newspapers have tended to think in terms of megaprojects, which can be useful but don’t get read. (The reality is that most people allocate about 20 minutes to the newspaper as part of a daily routine; expecting them to make it through a 2,000-word piece is unreasonable. Though an online or mobile version could be available whenever they had time.) I’d like to see a paper pick a key topic, let loose some of the excellent reporters still working and present the information as it’s discovered, likely in a series of shorter pieces.

  2. Norm Farrell says:

    Hasn’t ProPublica demonstrated what being talked about here? It was initially funded by a wealthy California couple, Herbert and Marion Sandler. They focused on rather few stories, covering them in depth. For example, they were particularly strong in examinations of fracking, to the chagrin of the powerful petroleum lobby.

    ProPublica allowed republication of much of its own work without charge and, as it gained credibility and recognition, began to partner with more traditional news organizations. They’ve done fine work and are not in the pockets of vested interests.

    It is not THE solution but it is one solution. Imagine what could be done in BC with an independent news operation with half a dozen Bob Mackins digging for stories. It could be done online for less than the cost of a single BC Ferries executive.

  3. Nonconfidencevote says:

    “……Imagine what could be done in BC with an independent news operation with half a dozen Bob Mackins digging for stories. It could be done online for less than the cost of a single BC Ferries executive……”

    Good one Norm. :)

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