A report from Journalism.org recently showed that Newspaper weekday circulation has fallen by 19% since 2004. With digital media taking its largest share of the market, as well as the reader’s mind, we wanted to know how digital media has affected publishing on a global level. And what could have been a better way to find out than talking to some popular names in the digital media industry and hearing their opinions on the topic?
We recently, asked the question, ‘how has digital media affected publishing globally?’, to some intelligent minds who have personally experienced the effect of digital media in the publishing world.
Let’s find out how they feel and what changes they have experienced post digital boom’…
Who did we interview?
Jake Basford Paul Squires Shana Ting Lipton
Jake Basford – Geek Editor, VadaMagazine
Jake’s experience is mostly in the fields of media, PR and press, specifically within the third and LGBT sectors.
In his words: At present, I work as the Media Coordinator and Fundraiser for a Castle Preservation Trust, and am the Geek Editor for Vada Magazine, as well as a freelance writer.
In five years time, Jake would like to be living in London and working in a PR/press role full-time, maybe with a paid magazine column, and a cat. Possibly even a partner.
What did Jake Say ?
Publishing bodies around the world are realising one thing fast– paper is dying faster than any other publication. Just look at institutions like the BBC, who have had cuts so big that they might as well be called gashes. Plus, there is an elitism with print media that you don’t find elsewhere in the publishing world. When I was fresh out of university and looking for a field to specialise in (because Academia was clearly not going to work for me), I undertook several internships at large print organisations in order to try and prove my worth. I did the job, I did it well and was sent home at the end of my contract with promises of future work that never materialised. Writing for digital publications has given me, and others I know, a voice that would never have otherwise been offered. With a 24hr news cycle, and an audience appetite to match, there should be no end of publications producing the same quality pf content seen daily in the Independent and Guardian on an hourly basis, but we are only seeing the beginnings of that trend starting to take off. Case and point – Buzzfeed – they have managed to create a huge international publication (and if they ever start a Cardiff office, please can someone call me, ’cause I want in) that is not only reporting on cases on a quicker basis than daily publications, but also has been a source for change within the journalistic world. Many publications are changing, and to maintain an elitism is going to be the death of a lot of the bigger names, which is sad, but without adaptation they probably deserve to go.
Paul Squires – pereramedia.com
Paul Squires is the founder of Perera (www.pereramedia.com), a content and market intelligence agency based in Oxford, UK. He is also the publisher of Imperica (www.imperica.com), a well-known media, arts and technology magazine.
What did Paul say ?
Whilst we can talk about the near-infinite access to information and knowledge that mobile communications technology has clearly helped to facilitate, it is important to remember that it is also helping more people to feel more safe, wherever they are.
Many of us have felt safer with mobile apps and content when visiting a new town or country. They also help with personal safety while generally out and about – whether texting the police, taking a photo of a perpetrator, using an alarm app, or “checking in” to confirm your location to family and friends.
It isn’t just about personal safety, either. The joke app “Yo” has been repurposed by Israelis to warn each other of impending rocket attacks. Ushahidi is a brilliant service (in both SMS and app form) for crowdsourcing information, and its origins lay in reporting violence in Kenya’s disputed elections of 2007.
That shiny device in your pocket offers more – much more – than a world of information. It’s a proven life-saver.
Shana Ting Lipton – London/LA journalist
Shana Ting Lipton is London/LA journalist who covers technology, culture, media and law.
What did Shana say ?
Publishing has unsurprisingly, been massively influenced by digital media. Two key longer term forces have been at play: the democratisation of the creative industries (through DYI software like Garage Band and iMovie; and via blogging platforms like WordPress); and the instantaneous and insatiable nature of online consumption of “content” (previously more respectably dubbed “editorial”). Although this democratisation has given a voice to the untrained and unregulated, and sometimes lined their coffers with investments via crowd-funding sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, it has also spawned lower quality works and at times dismantled any power that creators may have to collectively ‘fight City Hall’ so to speak (as any rogue journalist, video producer or the like might not stand in solidarity with a trade group on a given issue).
While the drive to produce huge amounts of content has been relentless, the value of individual pieces of content has been drastically reduced to account for the bullet-train speed of the digital news cycle. In other words, content directors/publishers are amassing cross-platform narratives and articles for publication en masse, while the individual creators and rights holders of that content have found their work significantly undervalued. The latter has firstly occurred in terms of monetisation of individual pieces of content (articles, blog posts, web videos, etc.). Many a journalist will quip that per-word rates are not much higher these days than they were over a decade ago.
However, perhaps most pressingly, valuable intellectual property rights have become almost impossible — from both the David and Goliath standpoints — to manage, license and adequately monetise, with illegal appropriation and piracy commonplace and as difficult to police as a game of whack-a-mole. This is due to the internet’s far-reaching confines and the practice of so-called mirror sites which host copyright-infringing content being launched as quickly as original infringing sites are taken down.
As the world wide web tears down borders it is also threatening to abolish the lucrative (for rights holders like content creators and studios) industry standard of individual territorial licensing. There have already been calls from the European Commission — with its Digital Single Market mandate — to unify and harmonize licensing of copyrighted materials (under one EU umbrella).
For the time being the Commission has decided to adopt an incremental approach to this — no doubt due to pushback from Hollywood and the like who depend on this cash cow, tried and true model. It has even been suggested that Netflix is poised to pursue a global content rights model. And international trade agreements like the TPP — if ratified — may equally bring in blanket treatment of intellectual property rights.
Undoubtedly, this looks to be the only way government and the big business worlds know how to manage this internet-precipitated copyright crisis. It remains to be seen whether the so-called innovation of Silicon Valley will manage to tackle this problem by employing technology itself (for example more effectively embedded DRM coding in images or taking a more user-friendly a one-stop shop approach to licensing).
What do we think ?
The introduction of digital media has completely changed the way that publishing media operates today. We think it is a nice situation to be in. The dramatic change in publishing has already done more good than harm as the ‘new avatar’ of publishing has not only appreciated by publications but also by readers all over the world. For example, in previous years you had to visit the shops or subscribe to the news publication of your choice and wait for your newspaper to reach to your door. Now you are just a click (or a tap) away from the latest news, with notifications hitting your smartphone screen as soon as a publish button is pressed, constant global new updates are in your pocket instantaneously. So sitting in your room in India, you can easily read UK version of The Huffingtonpost within seconds – which would have been nearly impossible in previous years.
Also, for writers, journalists and publisher etc, the introduction of digital media has created a wider audience than ever before. With online publishing media reaching out to more people, publishers can reach out to more and more people and continue to build a larger readership – ultimately a win-win situation for all. And let’s not forget, with digital media at its full swing, what excites us most is the benefit for environment due to reduced paper usage.