Changing Platforms, Not Values: Is Magazine Journalism in Decline?


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BA dissertation on the relationship between journalistic platform and function, and its effects on the magazine publishing industry in the United Kingdom.

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Changing Platforms, Not Values: Is Magazine Journalism in Decline?

  1. 1. University of the Arts London 16/05/2011London College of CommunicationModule Title: Major ProjectStudent: Hristina HristovaIssued by: Simon DasID: HRI09266648 Changing Platforms, Not Values: Is Magazine Journalism in Decline?             BA (Hons) Magazine Publishing Single Honours 3rd Year
  2. 2.    AbstractMuch   recent   scholarly   attention   has   been   paid   to   the   changing   platforms   and  properties   of   magazine   publishing,   in   light   of   content   democratisation,   the   social  attributes   of   Web   2.0,   and   increasing   broadband   penetration   in   the   United  Kingdom.  As  technology  evolves,  society  changes  with  it.    The  media  sector  is  first  to  absorb  and  respond  to  these  changes  as  they  most  immediately  affect  it.    To  equate  changes  in  journalistic  functions  and  journalistic  platforms  is,  however,  to  deny  the  complexities   of   interconnections   between   the   demands   of   a   proactive   Web   2.0  audience,   innovative   revenue   strategy   requirements   of   the   future,   and   the  adaptation   of   the   magazine   industry   to   this   new   media   milieu.   By   tracing   the  relationship   between   platform   and   function,   this   dissertation   discusses   whether  magazine   journalism   is   in   decline,   not   only   through   reference   to   statistical  circulations   and   revenues   data,   but   by   comparing   and   contrasting   these   diverse  variables.  Rather  than  focusing  on  the  economic  side  of  changes  to  the  industry  to  the  exclusion  of  social  factors,  the  paper  highlights  the  significance  of  technology  in  terms   of   the   functions   and   values   of   magazine   journalism.     The   relationship  between  platform  and  function  permits  of  a  range  of  subtle  implications,  the  most  crucial   of   which   is   that,   although   journalistic   channels   are   at   once   transforming  the   industry   and   transformative   of   consumer   attitudes   towards   the   industry,  essential  magazine  journalism  values  continue  to  hold  true.                   2  
  3. 3.       Acknowledgments          With  special  thanks  to;      Mr   Simon   Das   –   for   providing   guidance,   support   and   critical   feedback   during   the  writing  of  this  dissertation.    Ms   Lorraine   Mallon   –   for   guidance   and   support   through   the   initial   planning  stages  of  this  dissertation.  Ms   Zoë   Sutherland   –   for   proofreading,   and   providing   moral   support   and  inspiration  throughout  the  dissertation  planning  and  writing  process.    My  colleagues  and  supervisors  at  Groupon  UK  &  IE  -­‐  for  showing  understanding  and  support  throughout  the  dissertation  process.                       3  
  5. 5.    APPENDIX  5  :  PLATFORM  COMPARISON   112  APPENDIX  6:  KOVACH  AND  ROSENSTIEL’S  ELEMENTS  OF  JOURNALISM   113      1.0 Introduction  The   following   dissertation   discusses   the   relation   between   platform,   function   and  values,   in   terms   of   magazine   journalism   in   the   United   Kingdom.   The   dissertation  places   the   magazine   publishing   industry   in   the   context   of   recent   technological  and   economic   developments,   including   the   effects   and   properties   of   Web   2.0  (O’Reilly,   2007),   the   introduction   of   the   iPad   to   the   market,   content  democratisation   and   the   global   economic   crisis,   which   has   in   turn   led   to   the  increased   popularity   of   m-­‐   and   e-­‐commerce   sales.     The   increased   broadband  penetration  (MINTEL,  2010),  number  of  social  media  users  in  the  UK,  and  their  attitudes   towards   the   digital   are   all   influential   factors   in   the   changes   magazine  journalism  is  currently  undergoing.       The  aim  of  this  dissertation  is  to  place  magazine  journalism  in  the  context  of   its   contemporary   techno-­‐economic   environment   in   order   to   discuss   its  traditional,  emergent  and  future  attributes.      1.1 Research Objectives  The   main   objectives   of   this   dissertation   involve   answering   the   following  questions:     1. What  are  the  traditional  functions  and  values  of  journalism,  and  magazine   journalism  in  particular?     2. What  is  the  relationship  between  platform  and  function,  and  how  is  this   significant  to  magazine  journalism?     3. How  are  journalistic  properties  changing  and  how  do  these  changes  affect   the  magazine  industry  in  the  UK?       5  
  6. 6.    1.2 Research Justification  The   following   dissertation   holds   significance   for   the   field   of   research   as   it  provides   an   insight   into   the   properties   of   magazine   journalism,   rather   than  focusing   on   the   magazine   publishing   industry   as   a   whole,   which   narrows   the  scope   of   the   research   and   also   provides   a   new   angle   on   the   issues   identified   in  other   research.     While   industry   writings   are   mostly   focusing   on   the   industry  itself,  by  looking  into  the  importance  of  technology  such  as  the  iPad  (Hepworth,  2010,  Woyke,  2011,)  and  the  falling  circulation  numbers  of  magazines  (MINTEL,  2010),  the  following  research  channels  all  these  variables  into  a  comprehensive  analysis   of   how   such   factors   affect   magazine   journalism;   its   functions,   social  roles  and  values.  Naturally,  the  research  design  allows  for  such  findings  through  analysis   of   the   industry   in   terms   of   revenue   strategies,   circulation   reports   and  other  statistical  data.    Its  main  strength,  however,  is  the  transformation  of  such  data  into  knowledge  regarding  magazine  journalism.      1.3 Research Methodology  The  research  was  designed  in  a  manner  to  offer  insight  into  the  popular  opinion  of   journalism   and   its   changing   parameters,   as   well   as   an   overview   by   industry  specialists.   The   primary   research   is   a   qualitative   report   which   consists   of   two  parts;  a  research  survey,  with  fifty  participants  from  different  backgrounds,  and  an   industry   specialist   focus   group,   consisting   of   six   experts   in   the   field   of  magazine   publishing.     Both   elements   of   the   primary   research   are   based   on   the  findings  from  the  secondary  research.             6  
  7. 7.    1.4 Dissertation Structure  The   Contextualisation   chapter   of   this   dissertation   provides   an   overview   of   the  techno-­‐economic  milieu  of  magazine  journalism  today  and  includes  some  of  the  properties   of   applications-­‐based   Internet,   the   significance   of   social   media   as   a  news   provider,   online   advertisement   revenue   reports   for   2010,   and   the   overall  state   of   the   magazine   publishing   industry   today.     In   addition,   see   Appendix   1  Definitions   for   the   full   definitions   of   terms   used   in   this   dissertation,   and   their  justifications.     The   Literature   Review   examines   key   themes   in   the   area   of   study   and  provides   a   comparative   analysis   of   existing   research   in   the   field.     Through  analysis,   synthesis   and   evaluation,   the   chapter   identifies   the   issues   of   the  question   and   provides   a   substantive   basis   for   the   primary   research   to   be  conducted.       The   Research   Methodology   Design   chapter   details   the   types   of   research,  and   justifies   the   research   methods,   applied   in   this   dissertation.   A   comparative  analysis  of  qualitative  and  quantitative  research  is  provided,  which  explains  the  methodology  design  of  the  primary  and  secondary  research.       The   Data   Analysis   chapter   describes   and   analyses   data   collected   via   the  primary   research,   summarising   findings   which   are   inspected   in   the   Discussion  chapter.     In  turn,  the  Discussion  chapter  draws  together  all  the  themes  and  findings  of  the  research;  furnishing  the  dissertation  with  a  critical  analysis  of  the  research  by  comparing  and  contrasting  evidence  to  turn  it  into  knowledge.     Finally,   the   dissertation   is   concluded   with   a   summary   of   the   main  findings,  and  recommendations  for  the  future  of  magazine  journalism.         7  
  8. 8.        Chapter ReferencesHepworth,  D.,  (2010),  “If  the  iPads  the  answer,  whats  the  question  again?”  InPublishing,  May/June  2010  URL:  <>  MINTEL,  (2010),  Paid-­‐For  vs  Free  -­‐  Consumer  Attitudes  to  Pricing  in  Media  and  Music  -­‐  UK  -­‐  April  2010  OReilly,  T.,  (2007),  What  is  Web  2.0:  Design  Patterns  and  Business  Models  for  the  Next  Generation  of  Software,  Sebastopol  (CA),  OReilly  Media    Woyke,  E.,  (2011),  “Analyst:  Android  Tablet  Shipments  Will  Match  IPad  In  Second  Half  Of  2011”,,  last  visited  24/04/2011,  published  10/01/2011,  URL:  <­‐android-­‐tablet-­‐shipments-­‐will-­‐match-­‐ipad-­‐in-­‐second-­‐half-­‐of-­‐2011/>                           8  
  9. 9.  2.0 Contextualisation  2.1 Socio-technological environment  The   Web   has   been   identified   as   a   platform   since   2004   when   Tim   O’Reilly   first  introduced  the  term  Web  2.0  (O’Reilly,  2007)  and  defined  market  dominance  as  the   network   effects   of   user   contributions.   (O’Reilly,   2007:   9).     The   increased  effect   of   user-­‐generated   content   and   application-­‐based   Internet   has   influenced  most   media   industries   by   challenging   existing   platforms   and   practices,   enforcing  the   application   of   new   revenue   models   (Kaye,   Quinn,   2010).   In   addition   to   the  rising  number  of  users,  who  self-­‐publish  content  online  (Morris,  2010,  Sconfield  2010),   the   number   of   tablets   sold   worldwide   is   also   increasing,   with   Google  forecasted  to  match  the  number  of  Apple  tablets  sold  in  2010  by  the  end  of  the  second   quarter   of   2011   (Woyke,   2010).   Additionally,   m-­‐commerce   (or,   mobile  commerce)   is   an   increasing   trend,   shaping   geo-­‐location   based   marketing   and  commerce  for  the  future  of  business  (Dholakia  and  Dholakia  2004).     The   true   power   of   the   Internet   as   a   journalistic   tool   can   be   seen   in  examples   from   early   2011   –   through   the   revolutions   in   the   Arab   world   that  started   in   January   2011,   the   tsunami   crisis   in   Japan   in   March   2011,   and   the   anti-­‐cuts   protests   in   the   UK   from   March   2011.   Platforms,   such   as   Twitter,   YouTube  and   various   blogs   provided   instant   information   (Panisson,   2011,   Jarvis,   2011,  Rosen,   2011,   Coldeway,   2011)   about   the   events,   and   a   number   of   traditional  journalistic   platforms,   including   The   Guardian   and   The   BBC,   based   their  journalistic   reporting   on   the   information   available   via   social   media,   opening   a  debate  on  journalistic  fact  verification,  sourcing  and  functions.   Online   advertising   revenue   has   also   been   a   much   discussed   subject,  mainly  because  of  its  record  numbers  in  2010,  increasing  by  15%  from  2009  to  reach   $26   billion   in   the   United   States   alone   (IAB   Report,   2011),   combined   with   a  22%   increase   in   the   number   of   display   ad   impressions   for   the   same   period  
  10. 10.    (Comscore  Inc,  2010).    In  the  UK  the  Internet  economy  equals  7.2%  of  UK  GDP  -­‐  more  than  that  of  utilities,  transport  or  construction  (Boston  Consulting  Group,  2010).   This   is   suggestive   of   how   increased   broadband   penetration   in   the   UK  (Mintel,   2011)   has   increasingly   led   the   advertiser,   publisher   and   consumer   to  rely  on,  and  trust,  the  Internet  in  recent  years.    2.2 Effects on the magazine publishing industry in the UK  For   the   UK   magazine   publishing   industry,   content   democratisation,   platform  digitalization,  and  the  increase  in  online  advertising  have  resulted  in  substantial  financial  and  structural  changes.     The   industry   is   currently   said   to   have   stabilised   after   the   2008-­‐2009  recession;  an  estimated  530  million  copies  of  female  consumer  magazines  were  sold  in  2010,  generating  revenue  of  ca.  £691  million  (Mintel,  2010),  which  is  only  £40   million   less   than   the   turnover   from   2007.   Additionally,   the   PPA   estimates  the   entire   UK   magazine   industry   to   be   worth   £6   billion   (PPA,   2009),   and   given  that  online  advertising  in  the  UK  alone  is  worth  £100  billion  (Boston  Consulting  Group,  2010),  there  is  potential  for  the  industry  in  terms  of  profit  optimisation  and  introduction  of  new  revenue  channels.     Scrutinising  the  financial  changes  that  digitalisation  has  introduced  to  the  industry,   there   has   been   a   considerable   increase   in   magazines’   online  investments.   These   include   the   development   and   management   of   tablet   issue  versions,   better   (more   user-­‐friendly)   websites,   social   media   management,   online  content  management,  SEO  content  management,  blogger  outreach,  and  e-­‐  and  m-­‐  commerce  support.  Magazines  have  always  relied  on  targeted  content  to  attract  consumers  and  advertisers  alike,  and  investing  in  new  platforms  is  another  way  for   magazines   to   monetarise   content.     Today,   magazines   generate   revenue  through   different   sources   and   models,   and   Web   2.0   provides   an   excellent  opportunity  for  the  industry  to  optimise  its  overall  revenue.       10  
  11. 11.     Further,  on  the  structural  dimension  of  magazine  publishing,  one  can  note  changes  in  the  industry  as  a  whole,  as  well  as  on  a  smaller  scale  with  individual  publications.   Web   2.0   has   forced   change   in   some   traditional   roles   involved   in  magazine   publishing.   For   example,   the   role   of   the   editor   has   changed  considerably  (InPublishing,  2008).  There  is  now  also  a  new  relationship  between  the   consumer,   publisher   and   advertiser,   which   means   that   magazines   must   re-­‐invent  their  traditional  interaction  with  the  consumer,  in  order  to  ensure  more  advertisers   and   subscription   –   digital   or   analogue.     Additionally,   the   relationship  between  publisher  and  distributor  (OFT,  2006)  is  changing.      As  more  magazines  focus   their   attention   on   digital   platforms,   the   significance   of   distributors   and  merchants  diminishes.    _____________________________________________________________________________________________  Chapter References  Boston  Consulting  Group,  (2010),  Press  Release:  Internet  Economy  Worth  £100  Billion  a  Year,  Finds  Landmark  Report,  published  28/10/2010  Coldeway,  D.,  (2011),  People,  Not  Things,  Are  The  Tools  Of  Revolution,  TechCrunch,  last  visited  24/04/2011,  published  11/02/2011,  URL:<­‐of-­‐revolution/>  ComScore  Inc,  (2010),  Press  Release:  U.S.  Online  Display  Advertising  Market  Delivers  22  Percent  Increase  in  Impressions  vs.  Year  Ago,  last  visited  01/05/2011,  published:08/11/2010  Dholakia,  R.,  Dholakia,  N.,  (2004),  Mobility  and  markets:  emerging  outlines  of  m-­‐commerce,  Journal  of  Business  Research  IAB  Report  (2011),  Internet  Advertising  Revenue  Report,  2010  Full  Year  Results  04/2011  InPublishing,  (2008),  The  changing  role  of  the  editor,  last  visited  01/05/2011,  published:  01/09/2008,  URL:  <>     11  
  12. 12.    Jarvis,  J.,  (2011),  Facebook,  Twitter,  and  the  Egyptian  Revolution,  The  Faster  Times,  last  visited:  24/04/2011,  published  13/02/2011,  URL:  <­‐twitter-­‐and-­‐the-­‐egyptian-­‐revolution/>  Kaye,  J.,Quinn,  S.,  (2010),  Funding  Journalism  in  the  Digital  Age:  Business  Models,  Strategies,  Issues  and  Trends,  Peter  Lang  MINTEL,  (2010),  Womens  Magazines,  UK,  December  2010  MINTEL,  (2011),  Digital  Trends  Spring,  UK,  April  2011  Morris,A.,  (2010),  2010  Blogging  Trends:  There’s  Only  Enough  Room  in  the  Blogosphere  for  the  144  Million  of  Us,  Ignite  Social  Media,  last  visited:  24/04/2011,  published  05/08/2010,  URL:  <­‐media-­‐trends/2010-­‐blogging-­‐trends-­‐blog-­‐growth-­‐statistics/>  Office  of  Fair  Trading,  (2006),  Newspaper  and  Magazine  Distribution:  Public  consultation  on  the  draft  opinion  of  the  Office  of  Fair  Trading,  May  2006  OReilly,  T.,  (2007),  What  is  Web  2.0:  Design  Patterns  and  Business  Models  for  the  Next  Generation  of  Software,  Sebastopol  (CA),  OReilly  Media    Panisson,  A.,  (2011),  The  Egyptian  Revolution  on  Twitter,  Gephy,  last  visited  24/04/2011,  published  15/02/2011,  URL:  <­‐egyptian-­‐revolution-­‐on-­‐twitter/>  PPA,  (2009),  Creative  Industries  Review  Group  Response  from  Periodical  Publishers  Association,  June  2009  Sconfield,  E.,  (2010),  Costolo:  Twitter  Now  Has  190  Million  Users  Tweeting  65  Million  Times  A  Day,  TechCrunch,  last  visited  24/04/2011,  published  08/06/2010,  URL:  <­‐190-­‐million-­‐users/>  Woyke,  E.,  (2011),  Analyst:  Android  Tablet  Shipments  Will  Match  iPad  In  Second  Half  Of  2011,,  last  visited  24/04/2011,  published  10/01/2011,  URL:     12  
  13. 13.    <­‐android-­‐tablet-­‐shipments-­‐will-­‐match-­‐ipad-­‐in-­‐second-­‐half-­‐of-­‐2011/>                                           13  
  14. 14.  3.0 Review of the LiteratureThe  following  chapter  provides  a  detailed  overview  of  academic  discussions  with  implications   for   this   dissertation.     The   chapter   identifies   the   main   issues   the  question  raises  and  provides  sufficient  evidence  in  which  to  ground  the  primary  research.    The  main  issues  identified  are  as  follows;     1.   If   journalistic   platforms   are   changing,   are   journalistic   values   and   functions  changing  also?     2.   If   new   technologies   mean   new   revenue   channels,   how   will   magazine   journalism  of  the  future  be  funded?       3.     What   do   these   changes   mean   for   the   media   sector,   and   for   society   as   a   whole?  These   concerns,   identified   in   the   literature   review,   are   then   addressed   via   the  primary  research  methodology.      3.1 Definitions of Journalism  The   following   section   aims   to   outline   the   key   definitions   of   journalism   (in  general),  with  a  focus  on  socio-­‐economic  influences.  Understanding  the  debates  regarding  defining  journalism  allows  for  an  in-­‐depth  evaluation  of  its  functions,  platforms  and  “new”  elements.   The   rather   old-­‐fashioned   concept   that   “journalism   is   whatever   journalists  say   it   is”   (Kovach,   Rosenstiel,   2001,2007:   11),   has   not   gone   unchallenged   by  scholars   and   industry   specialists.   Since   the   professionalisation   of   journalism   in  the   twentieth   century   (Deuze,   2005:450),   journalism   has   been   a   controversial  profession   to   analyse.   It   is   even   arguable   whether   it   is   a   profession   at   all  
  15. 15.    (Vujnovic,   2008).     In   his   paper,   The   Journalist   and   Professionalism   (1986),  Hodges  identifies  what  he  calls  “the  components  of  a  profession”:    …a profession is an occupation: in which things are practised; whichis an intellectual operation with large individual responsibility; inwhich raw material is derived from science and learning; in whichknowledge must be applied; which has educationally communicabletechniques; which is self-organised; and which is altruistic in itsmotivation. Hodges,  1986   Hodges  continues  to  state  that  journalism  does  not  fall  in  all  of  the  above  categories  but  does  classify  as  a  profession.  Journalism  is  an  occupation  in  which  journalistic  activities  are  practiced;  including  source  verification,  newsgathering,  and  fact  analysis.  These  activities  can  be  summarised  as  an  intellectual  operation  with  individual  responsibility;  knowledge  is  applied  to  journalism  and  there  are  educationally   communicable   techniques.     Deuze   (2005)   disagrees   with   Hodges,  and   refers   to   journalism   as   an   “occupational   ideology”   (2005:   43)   instead,  justifying  his  approach  as:  …inspiring because it helps us to look beyond infrastructures[…] or representationalism […]when assessing what journalismas a profession is […] in a context of fast-changingtechnology and society. Deuze,  2005:  443   Deuze’s  article  offers  insight  into  the  difficulties  associated  with  defining  contemporary   journalism,   as   well   as   the   defining   industry   debates.     Deuze’s  definition   would   complement   this   dissertation,   as   it   discusses   journalism   in  terms  of  its  socio-­‐technological  environment.     Örnebring   (2010)   refers   to   “journalism   as   labour”   (2010:59),   because  “journalism   […]   is   a   product   of   the   industrial   revolution   and   its   linking   of  technology   to   the   capitalist   system”   (2010:   68).     Örnebring’s   approach   is  illuminating  because  it  enables  an  analysis  of  the  elements  of  journalism  from  a  monetary   viewpoint.     In   deconstructing   the   editorial   process,   to   examine     15  
  16. 16.    publication   frequency   or   speed   of   newsgathering   for   instance,   one   can   analyse  these   from   a   capitalist   viewpoint;   giving   each   a   monetary   value   and   ultimately  portraying   journalism   as   a   business   enterprise.   Allison   (1986),   on   the   other  hand,   looks   at   journalism   from   a   social,   rather   than   in   a   techno-­‐economic   or  capitalist  sense,  arguing  that  “studies  should  focus  on  how  journalists  are  being  perceived   by   society”   (Vujnovic,   2008:   76).   Allison   refers   to   journalism   as   a  profession,   in   terms   of   the   power   allowed   it   by   society,   and   the   power   it   holds  over   society.   Allison’s   approach   is   also   relevant   to   this   dissertation,   as   it  evaluates   the   relationship   between   audiences   and   publishers.   This   issue   is   of  vital   importance   to   the   future   of   journalism,   in   terms   of   the   threat   set   out   by  content  democratisation.       3.2 Traditional Functions and Values of Journalism  It   is   important   to   establish   the   central   opinions   and   theories   regarding   the  traditional   functions   and   values   of   professional   journalism,   in   order   to  understand   how   new   platforms   and   technologies   are   interlinked   with   the  functions  of  journalism.     Journalism’s   definition   is   highly   contingent   on   its   functions   and   values,  influencing   determinations   about   whether   or   not   it   is   in   decline.     Kovach   and  Rosenstiel   categorise   the   functions   of   journalism   as   journalism   of   verification,  journalism  of  assertion,  journalism  of  affirmation,  and  interest  group  journalism  (2010:   36-­‐50).   The   authors   further   state   that   the   norms   and   values   to   which  journalism   aspires   include   “independence,   verification,   a   primary   allegiance   to  citizens   rather   than   political   faction   or   corporate   interests,   and   a   dedication   to  consideration   of   events”   (2010:   172).     Complying   with   these   elements   would  help   journalism   keep   its   position   as   a   trustworthy   profession   and   also   re-­‐   16  
  17. 17.    establish  its  voice  of  truth  amongst  platforms  which  do  not  (openly)  verify  their  facts,  such  as  WikiLeaks.  Kovach  and  Rosenstiel  focus  on  journalism’s  obligation  to   the   truth   –   arguably,   its   foremost   function   (2001,2007,   pp   36).     The   relation  between   journalism   and   ethics   is   a   significant   one,   as   the   human   desire   for   truth  would   mean   that   truth   verification,   assertion   and   affirmation   are   functions  consistently  demanded  by  society.     Michael   Ryan’s   (2001)   argument   that   ethics   is   the   main   value   in  journalism   complements   Kovach   and   Rosenstiel’s   findings.   It   further   suggests  that  the  main  function  of  journalism  is  to  portray  the  truth  (Kovach,  Rosenstiel,  2001,   2007:   14).   It   is   important   to   note   the   importance   of   truth   when   discussing  journalism  as  the  issue  of  fact  verification  and  source-­‐confirmation  is  a  part  of  an  active   debate,   regarding   new   journalistic   platforms,   which   are   said   to   lack   fact  verification.     There   have   been   several   instances,   when   new   platforms   have,  admittedly,  provided  instant  access  to  information,  but  information  which  is  not  accurate.   For   example,   numerous   Twitter   death   hoaxes   have   been   noted   to   be  trending  worldwide  (Zarella,  2011).     McNair’s   (2009)   descriptions   of   journalism   invoke   its   surveillance   and  social   reproduction   roles   (2009:   21)   -­‐   referring   to   journalism’s   obligations   to  society,   on   which   Kovach   and   Rosenstiel   also   focus.   McNair   further   states   that  journalism   provides   “an   ongoing   narrative   about   the   world   beyond   our  immediate  experiences”  (2009:  21)  –  a  function  that  is  today  largely  substituted  by  technology  (Rutenbeck,  2006:29).     A  thorough  description  of  the  functions  of  journalism,  with  a  focus  on  its  roles  as  a  witness,  is  provided  by  Carlson  (2007),  who  states  that:     17  
  18. 18.    Journalistic authority relates to credibility and legitimacy inperforming the function of a surrogate witness, but one that alsosorts, omits, transforms, explains, comments on, and makes sense ofwhat it reports. Carlson,  (2007:  266)   Carlson’s  multi-­‐dimensional  definition  relates  closely  with  that  of  Kovach  and   Rosenstiel   (2010).   Carlson   raises   a   valid   point   by   looking   at   journalism   as  not  simply  a  provider  of  information,  but  an  analytical  social  mechanism.  In  this  context,   independence   from   political   or   corporate   organisations   might  increasingly  difficult,  as  new  platforms  threaten  existing  ones.    3.3 Traditional Platforms  Magazines  Defining   traditional   journalistic   platforms   and   discussing   their   transformation   is  a   crucial   step   towards   identifying   whether   magazine   journalism   is   in   decline.  Magazines,   which   first   appeared   in   1731   (McKay,   2006:7),   are   a   popular  journalistic  medium,  traditionally  defined  as:  a periodical publication containing articles and illustrations,typically covering a particular subject or area of interest Oxford  Dictionary,  2nd  Edition,  2005   The   key   terms   in   the   above   definition   are   periodical,   publication   and  particular,  which  refer  to  a  magazine’s  frequency,  type  and  content  type/target  audience   respectively.   It   is   important   to   note   these,   as   they   are   significant   in  terms   of   the   transformation   of   the   magazine   towards   online   platforms  (Periodical   Publishers’   Association,   2011).   The   three   terms   are   applicable   yet     18  
  19. 19.    amended  –  mainly  in  terms  of  the  frequency  of  content  publication  and  audience  targeting.  The  PPA  provide  a  more  industry-­‐focused  definition  of  a  magazine:  branded, edited content often supported by advertising or sponsorshipand delivered in print or other forms Periodical  Publishers’  Association,  2011     This   definition   adds   another   dimension   to   that   of   the   OED   –   that   of  revenue   as   an   essential   part   of   magazines   (McKay,   2006:   187-­‐207).   Magazines  are   dependent   on   advertisers,   who   in   turn   are   interested   in   promoting   their  products  to  a  targeted  audience.    Kaye  and  Quinn  (2010)  refer  to  this  model  as  “the  eyeball  business  model-­‐  give  away  content  to  attract  eyeballs,  and  sell  those  audiences  to  advertisers”  (2010:  15).    The  authors  emphasise  the  importance  of  content  and  niche  targeting,  which  are  both  crucial  elements  of  magazines’  profit  optimisation  strategies.       Given   that   web   platforms   offer   more   intense   consumer   targeting   at   a  cheaper   rate   –without   the   complications   of   traditional   magazine   publishing  processes,   such   as   printing   and   distribution   –   magazines   industry   participants  must   look   to   new   methods   of   profit   optimisation,   which   would   exclude   the   costs  of   distribution   and   printing.   Some   of   these   methods,   as   suggested   by   Kaye   and  Quinn   (2010)   include:   sponsorships   and   philanthropy,   microfunding   and  micropayments,   family   ownerships   and   trusts,   niche   advertising,   e-­‐commerce  and   engagement,   electronic   paper/e-­‐readers   and   SEO   (search   engine  optimisation),  and  AdSense  content  creation,  concluding  that  the  revenue  model  of   the   future   would   be   a   combination   of   revenue   sources   (Kaye,   Quinn,  2010:173).   Regardless   of   the   method,   magazines   are   changing   their   organizational  structure,  revenue  models  and  format.       19  
  20. 20.    Newspapers  Newspapers  too  are  in  the  process  of  changing,  with  critics  questioning  current  revenue   models,   content   presentation,   and   corporate   structures   of   newspaper  organisations.  At  present,  newspapers  are  experimenting  with  different  models.  The   Financial   Times,   for   example,   offers   free   content,   combined   with   selected  paywall   content,   whereas   other   publications,   such   as   The   Guardian   offer  exclusively   free   content.     The   New   York   Times   offers   a   paid-­‐for   newsletter  function,  which  allows  users  to  list  their  preferred  topics  of  interest  and  receive  niche  content  (Kaye,  Quinn,  2010:  36).    McKay  (1996)  compares  newspapers  and  magazines,  concluding  that  magazines  are  entering  the  future  with  strategies  on  targeting,   niche   marketing   and   extensions,   which   “are   precisely   the   things   at  which   the   best   magazines   already   excel”   (McKay,   2006:   5).   New   technologies  facilitate   niche   targeting.   It   is   for   newspapers   to   take   advantage   of   these   new  media  technologies.       New   technologies   have   already   transformed   newspaper   journalism   “from  instant   global   distribution   to   community   participation   to   more   powerful   story  telling   techniques”   (Kaye,   Quinn,   2010:   173).     Despite   the   fact   that   newspaper  revenues   have   been   falling   since   the   recent   global   recession   (Kaye,   Quinn,  2010:7),   there   is   optimism   about   the   future   of   newspaper   journalism   with  increases  in  Kindle,  iPad  and  Twitter  users.        3.4 New Platforms  The   section   below   outlines   the   key   “new   media”   platforms,   which   have,   or   are   in  the   process   of   substituting,   the   traditional   channels   discussed   in   the   previous  section.   The   section   focuses   on   studies   regarding   Twitter   (and   microblogging),  blogs  and  WikiLeaks.     New   technologies   and   journalistic   functions   have   always   existed   in  correlation.   As   Pavlik   (2000)   notes   “journalism   has   always   been   shaped   by     20  
  21. 21.    technology”   (2000:229).     Pavlik   provides   the   example   of   the   significance   of  Guttenberg’s   printing   press   and   the   invention   of   the   telephone,   which   allowed  for  rapid  exchange  of  information.  Jarvis  (2010)  compares  the  significance  of  the  printing   press   to   the   Reformation   of   Europe,   and   the   importance   of   Twitter   to  the  Egyptian  revolution  in  January  2011.    Information  technologies  are  known  to  drive   societies   forward,   and   one   could   argue   that   the   same   is   happening   with  magazine  journalism  and  Web  2.0.       Örnebring   agrees   with   Pavlik,   stating   that   “the   prime   function   of   any   new  technology   is   to   speed   up   the   news   process   (2010:65)  –   the   scholar   views   speed  as   a   capitalist   means   of   competitive   advantage   and   a   naturalised   element   of  journalism  (2010:65).    This  means  that  increasing  the  speed  of  publication  –  also  increasing   the   speed   of   information   sourcing   and   verifying   –   increases  productivity   and   improves   a   publication’s   position   amongst   its   direct  competitors.     Hampton   (2004)   calls   this   revenue-­‐related   factor   an   “epistemology   of  speed   and   sensationalism”   (2004:92),   meaning   that   contemporary   news  journalism   focuses   on   providing   content   rapidly,   even   if   at   the   cost   of  correctness.   He   argues   that   while   mid-­‐Victorian   journalism   was   based   on  deliberation   and   debate,   New   Journalism   relied   on   instantaneous   news,   rather  than   accuracy   (2004:92).   New   technologies   allowing   for   instant   news   might   also  mean   sacrifices   in   accuracy.   Elliott   (2008)   regards   high-­‐speed   information   as   a  threat   to   journalism,   arguing   that   new   channels   create   a   “24-­‐hour   expectation   of  information   flow,   with   the   destruction   of   a   space-­‐   and   time-­‐limited   news   hole”  (2008:29).    For  Elliott,  the  “open  podium”  the  Web  creates  (referring  to  content  democratisation)   has   led   to   “a   lack   of   hard   borders   between   types   of   mass  communication”   (2008:29).     Blogs,   microblogging,   social   networks   and   other  elements  of  Web  2.0  (see  White,  2007)  are  the  main  platforms  fomenting  threats  to   the   traditional   journalism   Elliott   describes.     High-­‐speed   based   news   either  means  a  decrease  in  content  quality  (as  there  is  now  less  time  for  the  editorial  process),   or   the   adaptation   of   journalistic   practices   to   the   new   conditions  engendered  by  “new”  media  platforms.         21  
  22. 22.    BlogsBlogs,  or  weblogs,  as  they  were  known  in  1997  when  the  term  first  appeared,  are  a  Web  phenomenon,  associated  with  content  democratisation  and  Web  2.0.  The  generic  definition  of  a  blog  identifies  it  as  a    Web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoingnarrative Oxford  Dictionary,  2nd  Edition,  2007     This  definition  of  a  blog  is  limiting  in  terms  of  a  blog’s  functions,  purpose  and  narrative.    Rutenbeck’s  (2006)  definition  allows  for  a  clearer  view  into  the  way  blogs  are  operated:  a content management system (CMS)for allowing a person to use a webbrowser to directly create, edit and add to publically accessibleweb pages. Rutenbeck,  2006:29   Rutenbeck’s   description   includes   two   important   elements,   which   the  generic  definition  lacks;  content  management  and  accessibility.  This  implies  that  blogs   are   not   simply   “an   ongoing   narrative”   but   a   CMS   that   allows   for   the  implication  of  an  editorial  and  business  strategy.    Accessibility  means  that  more  people   would   be   able   to   access   the   news   at   any  given  time.  Singer  (2005)  goes  further,  stating  that  “a  blog  is  an  ongoing  conversation”  (Singer,  2005:178)  with  the  audience.  Singer  focuses  on  the  significance  of  blogs  as  a  social  tool  used  for  audience   engagement   (through   comments,   RSS   feeds   and   sharing   on   social  networks  such  as  Facebook  and  Twitter).       Jay  Rosen,  one  of  the  most  influential  industry  analysts,  discusses  blogs  in  terms   of   the   redistribution   of   media   power   they   have   caused   -­‐   from   “elitist”  journalistic   platforms   to   open   platforms.   As   journalism   is   transformed   into   a  conversation   (Kovach,   Rosenstiel,   2010:   172),   “the   news   system   now  incorporates   the   people   formerly   known   as   the   audience”   (Katz,   2011).     In   an     22  
  23. 23.    earlier   paper   about   the   relationship   between   blogger   and   journalists   Rosen  (2005)   argues   that   the   well-­‐known   industry   debate   of   bloggers   versus  journalists   is,   in   fact,   over.     The   debate   itself   consists   of   questions,   such   as:   is  blogging   a   replacement   of   journalism;   are   bloggers   journalists   and   how   are  journalistic  values  transcribed  onto  blogging  (Lowrey,  2006).  Rosen  argues  that  journalism   and   blogging,   or   any   sort   of   citizen   journalism   for   that   matter,  complement  each  other:  Not sovereign doesn’t mean you go away. It means your influence isnot singular anymore. Rosen,  2005   Rosen  does  not  ignore  the  rise  of  the  blog  as  a  platform  but  believes  the  two   can   co-­‐exist   together.   However,   Rosen   does   not   go   into   detail   over   market  share  and  revenues,  which  ultimately  make  it  possible  for  journalism  to  prosper  in  this  economic  and  technological  environment.  J.D.  Lasica  agrees  with  Rosen  on  this  topic,  discussing  the  relationship  between  the  two  as  symbiotic  in  “creating  a   new   media   ecosystem”   (Lasica,   2003:   71).     Seven   years   before   Kovach   and  Rosenstiel’s   Blur,   Lasica   had   introduced   the   concept   of   journalism   as   process,  rather   than   a   static   product   (Lasica,   2003:   72).     Picard   (1998)   on   the   other   hand  states  that  “journalism  is  not  in  itself  a  product  or  a  service”  (1998:  99).  Twitter  Twitter,   a   social   media   microblogging   site,   is   often   mentioned   when   discussing  the   future   of   magazine   journalism.   Twitter   allows   for   instant   access   to  information  -­‐  an  economic  advantage  that  Örnebring  discusses  in  detail  (2010).  Jack   Dorsey,   one   of   Twitter’s   co-­‐founders   describes   the   platform’s   content   as  “short   burst   of   inconsequential   information”   (Sarno,   2009),   different   from  magazines  and  newspapers  in  its  publication  frequency.  Whereas  magazines  and  newspapers   are   periodical,   content   on   Twitter   is   sporadic   and   often   unrelated.    Twitter   rarely   offers   an   analysis   of   information,   which   is   one   of   journalism’s  main  functions,  as  stated  by  Carlson,  (2007:  266).  In  this  way,  Twitter  might  be  seen,  not  as  a  threat  to  journalism,  but  rather  as  a  useful  tool.  Patterson  (2011)     23  
  24. 24.    identifies  a  clear  division  between  journalism  and  Twitter,  stating  that  “Twitter  is   a   tool,   the   web   is   a   medium,   and   journalism   is   an   action”.   The   researcher  agrees   strongly   with   this   statement,   as   it   offers   a   useful   separation   between  platform  and  function.     The  advantage  of  Twitter  is  its  easy  accessibility  as  a  platform  (via  mobile,  browser,   tablet);   allowing   news   to   be   transmitted   more   quickly   than   through  traditional   media.   For   example,   Twitter   transmitted   revolution   from   Egypt   to  neighbouring   states   (Panisson,   2011,   Jarvis,   2011,   Rosen,   2011,   O’Dell,   2011).    Live   updates   of   the   advancement   of   the   revolutionaries   were   re-­‐tweeted   at   an  exceptional  speed.     Twitter   is   becoming   an   important   journalistic   tool,   especially   regarding  information   and   source   gathering.   Real-­‐time   reporting   (“live-­‐blogging”   as   the  Guardian   refers   to   it)   is   another   important   function   that   Twitter   contributes   to  journalism.    Currently,  a  number  of  journalists  in  the  UK  actively  use  Twitter  as  a  journalistic  tool,  including  Paul  Lewis  of  The  Guardian,  who  live-­‐blogged  the  Ian  Tomlinson  inquest  on  The  Guardian  website  (Lewis,  2011).  Real–time  reporting  represents   an   upwards   trend   amongst   magazines   and   newspapers,   especially  after  journalists  in  the  UK  were  given  permission  to  tweet  and  email  from  court  (Lumley,   2010).   New   technologies   influence   not   only   journalism,   but   also   law  and  politics.  Journalism  necessarily  transforms  the  phenomena  it  represents.  As  representations   are   altered   via   new   technologies,   so   too   are   the   phenomena  represented  altered.      WikiLeaks  WikiLeaks  is  a  whistle–blowing  organisation,  which  questions  the  functions  and  obligations   of   journalism   by   revealing   confidential   information.     WikiLeaks’  content   is   controversial   to   the   extent   that   some   have   called   it   “not   a   news  organisation,   but   a   criminal   enterprise”   (Thiessen,   2010).   WikiLeaks   in   itself   is  not   an   independent   medium,   but   relies   on   traditional   media,   such   as   The   New  York   Times   and   The   Guardian   to   promote   the   information   it   releases.     As   Hotz     24  
  25. 25.    (2010),  a  critic  of  WikiLeaks  states,  “the  site  is  still  just  a  big  mine  full  of  data  that  has  to  be  extracted  and  processed  by  other  agents  in  the  journalistic  machine”.    Hotz  refers  to  the  fact  that  WikiLeaks  does  not  offer  an  analytical  portrayal  of  the  information   it   provides;   an   essential   function   of   traditional   journalistic   channels.    What   WikiLeaks   does   offer,   however,   is   the   opportunity   for   data   journalism   to  establish   itself   as   a   recognisable   media   force   (Greenslade,   2010).   By   revealing  sources  and  otherwise  secret  files,  WikiLeaks  calls  for  better  fact  verification  and  openness  within  journalism.       The   main   debate   surrounding   Wikileaks   (Axon,   2010)   in   the   media  industry  is  concerned  with  such  questions  as;   1. Is  WikiLeaks  a  journalistic  platform?     2. Can  WikiLeaks  exist  without  traditional  media  to  promote  it?   3. What  should  the  boundaries  of  journalism  be?     4. Do  we  need  to  re-­‐define  fact  verification?      3.5 New platforms and functions  The   following   section   includes   academic   writings   on   the   relationship   between  the  new  platforms  discussed  above,  and  the  traditional  functions  and  activities  of  journalism  with  regard  to  magazine  journalism.    Discussed  are  the  new  functions  likely  to  emerge  as  a  result  of  the  properties  of  the  new  platforms,  the  demands  of  the  Web  2.0  audience,  and  the  nature  of  updated  revenue  strategies.   One   of   the   main   changes   that   new   technologies   bring   to   magazine  journalism   is   the   speed   of   news   and   the   instant   circulation   of   information.  Standardisation  and  timesaving  are  a  product  of  the  Industrial  Revolution,  used  to   “promote   synchronised   efficiency   in   […]   complex   industrial   work   settings”  Eriksen   (2001:53).   In   our   time   of   “acceleration”,   as   Eriksen   refers   to   it,  journalism  is  expected  to  offer  instantaneous  news.    The discourse of speed, understood as at heart a capitalist logic ofcompetition and use of technology to increase productivity, hasbecome a wholly naturalized element of journalism   25  
  26. 26.     Örnebring  (2010)     Örnebring  shows  the  relation  between  speed  and  technology,  confirming  they   are   both   elements   of   journalism.   Tools   such   as   Twitter   allow   for   journalism  to   increase   the   speed   of   newsgathering   and   delivery.   Eriksen   (2001)   expresses  concern  about  a  speed  of  information  suggestive  of  “a  society  where  everything  stands   still   at   enormous   speed”   (2001).   In   a   high-­‐speed   information   era,   time  becomes  a  scarce  resource  and  an  information  overflow  occurs.  Thus  a  negative  aspect   of   the   application   of   new   tools   and   platforms   to   magazine   journalism   is  that   the   quality   of   information   may   suffer.   Sources,   provided   by   WikiLeaks   or  Twitter,  have  not  undergone  the  processes  of  verification  traditionally  instigated  in  journalism.     It  is,  thus,  important  to  note  the  relationship  between  audience  demands  (for  constant  flows  of  information-­‐sharing  and  interaction),  which  are  the  basis  for   the   properties   of   new   platforms,   and   the   development   of   new   journalistic  functions.  “Technology  may  change  delivery  and  form  […]  but  it  will  not  change  human   nature   and   the   imperatives   of   what   people   need   to   know”   (Kovach   and  Rosenstiel,  2010:173).  This  means  that  the  fundamental,  traditional  functions  of  journalism   must   remain   the   same,   but   journalists   of   the   future   must   practise  additional  functions.     These   functions   might   include   gatekeeping   (Bennet   and   Livingstone,  2003),   public   forum   organising   (Bollinger,   2011),   sense   making   (Kovach   and  Rosenstiel,   2010),   and   information   filtering   (Friend   and   Singer,   2007).  Gatekeeping  refers  to  journalism’s  role  as  a  public  judge  about  what  is  and  is  not  quality  content,  and  which  platforms  are  to  be  trusted.  Gatekeeping  is  the  reason  why  WikiLeaks,  for  example,  managed  to  gain  the  popularity  it  now  boasts:  well-­‐respected   publications   sourced   information   from   the   WikiLeaks   files,   which  automatically  made  it  trustworthy  in  the  eyes  of  many  readers.     The   function   of   being   a   public   forum   organiser   refers   to   the   demand   by  the   Web   2.0   audience   for   participation   and   equality.   Citizens   today   are   more  proactive   and   involved   in   social   debates.   Journalistic   channels   might   therefore  become   a   platform   to   encourage   action   and   involvement.   Sense   making   refers   to  the  function  of  putting  “information  into  context  […]  look  for  connections  so  that,     26  
  27. 27.    as  consumers,  we  can  decide  what  the  news  mean  to  us”  (Kovach  and  Rosenstiel,  2010:176).    Finally,  information  filtering  means  that  rather  than  writing  content  and   storytelling,   the   future   function   of   journalists   might   consist   of   filtering  information  from  the  pool  of  content  that  is  the  Web;  editing  and  formatting  the  information   provided   by   others,   and   targeting   information   towards   niche  audiences.     Whatever   combinations   of   functions   become   native   to   journalism;   the  demands  of  the  audience,  the  limitations  and  properties  of  journalistic  platforms,  and  the  restrictions  of  revenue  strategies  will  command  journalistic  functions.      ___________________________________________________________________________  Chapter References"blog",  noun.  The  Oxford  English  Dictionary,  2nd  edition,  Oxford:  Oxford  University  Press,  2007  "magazine",  noun.  The  Oxford  English  Dictionary,  2nd  edition,  Oxford:  Oxford  University  Press,  2005  Allison,  M.,  (1986),  "A  literature  review  of  approaches  to  the  professionalism  of  journalists",  Journal  of  Mass  Media  Ethics:  Exploring  Questions  of  Media  Morality,  Vol.  1,  Issue  2,  pp.  5-­‐19  Axon,  S.,  (2010),  The  WikiLeaks  Debate:  Journalists  Weigh  In,  Mashable  Social  Media,  last  visited  29/01/2011,  published  20/08/2010,  URL:  <­‐journalism/>  Bennet,  W.,  and  Livingsotne,  S.,  (2003),  Gatekeeping,  Indexing,  and  Live-­‐Event  News:  Is  Technology  Altering  the  Construction  of  News  Political  Communication,  20:363–380,  Taylor  &  Francis  In     27  
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