Presentation to the Assoc. for Journalism Education

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Presentation to the Association for Journalism Education delivered 18 June, 2009 at City University

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Presentation to the Assoc. for Journalism Education

  1. 1. Association for Journalism Education 18 June 2009 City University
  2. 2.  Tell you about the blog  Give you my take on political reporting  Thoughts on the business economics of blogging and news making  My take on the digital future  Criticisms of blogging
  3. 3. Guido's Mission :  Narcissism and personal amusement  Mischief making  Despair with the political class  Despair with the Lobby system  Despair with Private Eye, “Fiskers”  Unwanted on Samizdata
  4. 4. 3,500,000  September 2004 3,000,000 Total monthly hits 600 2,500,000  September 2005 2,000,000 1,500,000 Total monthly hits 27,000 Page Loads Unique Visitors  Latest 3,600,000 hits 1,000,000 500,000 0
  5. 5. 3,500,000 May 2009 Page Loads 3,000,000 Unique Visitors 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0
  6. 6.  Guido’s blog is political scandal central  No pretence to objectivity  Guido is aimed at journalists, Westminster insiders, wonks, politicians, the Lobby, activists, spin doctors and broadcast media  During Tory and LibDem leadership battles crucial point of information for activists
  7. 7.  Insider / Outsider?  Guido has some credibility  More Drudge than Wonkette  Will be like Rush to Bush under Tories  Journalists in the beginning gave Guido tips  No longer. Guido sells to papers front pages  Blogging journalists new competition  Diarists were Guido's main competition
  8. 8. Press Plagiarist of the Year Award
  9. 9. Why Smeargate went to the papers and not on Guido’s blog first.
  10. 10. Why Smeargate went to the papers:  Wife is a feisty cautious lawyer  Downing Street spinning “security threat”  Legal issues over copyright and the manner in which the emails were obtained  Whistleblower laws exclude “for profit”  Maximise the impact
  11. 11. The Lobby is an obedience school: Come to heel and you get titbits. How many political journalists can really hold their head up high? Cowardice and cronyism run right through the Lobby, fearful of being taken off the teat of pre-packaged stories served to them. That is not journalism; that is copytaking.
  12. 12. Thoughts on the business of news and blogging.
  13. 13.  No real general money making model in UK for bloggers currently  Popbitch and Guido are viable businesses  Blogging plus traditional media pays enough  Iain Dale does punditry / Guido sells stories  Tech blogs make good money  Some “specialist” blogs make money
  14. 14.  MessageSpace blog advertising network data •The single highest paid blogger had sales on average of £3,872 per month •The top 10% of bloggers had monthly sales averaging £2,861 in (Q4 ‘08) a rise of 64% from £1,741 last year (Q4 ’07). •The middle 40% of bloggers had average monthly sales of £351. •The remaining 50% had average monthly sales of £54.
  15. 15. "How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths", by Glenn Reynolds. This is the 21st century, the days of media conglomerates making the news in a top-down Fordist fashion are over. Boutique news sources will proliferate. The "news" is no longer what Paxman says it is, the news is whatever is disseminated to a wide audience, Big Media is going to be disintermediated when it falls down because technology has drastically reduced the cost of dissemination. Failing to hold our political class to account is the failing of Big Media in Britain.
  16. 16.  First they sneered  Then they feared  Don't worry, be happy, there will still be news journalism without newspapers
  17. 17.  Video blogging is the future  Podcasting is so yesterday  The Press will be pixellated not print  Newsrooms will survive, newspapers won’t, they will be news brands  More people read Guido than read Private Eye, Hislop is wrong
  18. 18. Answering critics of blogging
  19. 19.  You get things wrong  Unfiltered  Noise to signal / ratio
  20. 20. The comments are profane etc.
  21. 21. You are beyond the reach of libel laws
  22. 22. Platform for wannabee journalists  That is a feature not a bug  Comment costs nothing and a lot of paid for comment is rubbish filler  News costs a lot to do professionally, maybe NGOs and campaigns can do it on the cheap
  23. 23. Unaccountable and unedited: Accountable to readers  Sub-editing is crowd-sourced
  24. 24. Final thoughts:  US has more paid bloggers than lawyers  Read what was written about the Fourth Estate and the coffee house pamphleteers of yore, the same is now said of bloggers.  Newspaper journalism isn’t something sacred, it is a business. A business that is failing.

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