Question Is journalism a distinctoccupation or is it growing closer to marketing or even advertising?
Background• The ‘shelf-life’ of news has never been shorter- for at least the last 60 years, media watchers have been warning that society is moving faster and faster than ever before• Part leading and part responding to public demand, media firms rely more and more on our "nations most trusted instrument" for satisfying social needs and wants: the market- place
Market-driven journalism is spreading like a sniffle through a day-care centre” -McManus, 1994
News as a Commodity• The rules of journalism are the rules of public service vs. news production as a business• News has become a commodity; something bought and sold• For many media outlets, 60%-80% of their total revenue stems from advertising (Stromberg, 2004)
Marketing• “Advertisers have no functional concern on the meaning or consequences of mass communication except insofar as it provides a mechanism for the delivery of their messages to prospective customers“
Journalism• If news departments follow journalistic codes of ethics, they pledge to give accurate, fair accounts of significant current events and issues in a context that gives them meaning
Moving Closer• As a large amount of revenue is derived from marketing/ advertising- the relationship between journalism and marketing is brought closer...
2 Theories of News Production • Market Theory • Journalism Theory
Market Theory of how News are Produced The probability of an event/ issue becoming news = Inversely proportional to harm the information might cause investors or sponsors + Inversely proportional to the cost of uncovering it + Inversely proportional to the cost of reporting it +Directly proportional to the expected breadth of appeal of the story to audiences advertisers will pay to reach
Journalistic Theory of how News are Produced The probability of an event/ issue becoming news =Proportional to the expected consequence of the story + Proportional to the size of the audience for whom it is important
Extreme Models• Both the market and journalism models are defined as extremes• The profit levels of most print and broadcast media firms are high enough to accommodate greater journalistic integrity• However, given the current news market, and the nature of news as a commodity, maximizing return often conflicts with maximizing public understanding
The Problem• Journalists do not like to classify news as a commodity- it is against the nature of the field• However, the reality is quite different - each side is trying to get the maximum return for the minimum investment
So, How can Society Benefit?• McManus states that there are 4 conditions that must be met if society is to benefit from the relationship between journalism and the market
One: Self-interest must be pursued rationally• However, media firms have greater potential for rationally pursuing self-interest than society does• Firms have greater resources for learning about consumers than consumers have for learning about them and their products
Two: Knowledge of both product quality and market must exist• However, consumers have limited knowledge about the quality of news products• Multiple new media often report the same issue uncritically from a self- interested source• Important news is often misrepresented or unreported until after key decision points have passed
Three: Market Must Offer Competition• At first glance, this condition is met as consumers can freely pick different media channels• However, in order to maximize profits oligopolistic competitors act cooperatively, following each others product and pricing standards• As product mimic each other consumers cannot make the market work to their advantage by patronizing the better product
Four: The transaction mustntinfluence the quality of the journalism• However, media firms seek to produce a mix of news content, attracting the largest audience at the least cost
What is wrong with Journalism growing closer to Marketing?• Breadth of appeal over depth• Deterioration of quality• News values• Market driven journalism- less power to the journalist, more power to the market
Danger: Media Bias Ahead!• Because advertisers need a supportive environment for their messages, news departments should avoid turning up negative information about advertisers and ignore/ downplay reporting on such information made public by others.• Positive info about advertisers, their industries and the value of consumption should be developed and reported (without becoming obvious enough to damage the news departments credibility with consumers, of course)
Not totally out of control!• If bias toward advertisers became obvious, the news department might lose both its integrity and the attention of intelligent consumers- making the chanel less valuable for advertisers
The Recession: Did it Make Advertising Less Valuable?
Does the decrease is advertisinggenerated revenues mean that news contains less marketing? NO! PR IS FREE
Fact: PR is on the rise- journalism is decreasing• 1980 – .45 PROs/ 100.000 population – .36 journalists/ 100.000 population• 2008 – .90 PROs/ 100.000 population – .25 journalists/ 100.000 populationRatio: 3:1 (better equipped, better financed)(Sulivan, 2011)
Online paid for content• I.e. The Times and Sunday Times from June 2010• If we pay for content- will it be less biased? Probably Not! “At the moment, the only news producers successfully charging for most of their content online are those selling financial information to elite audiences – the Financial Times is one, The Wall Street Journal is another, Bloomberg is a third – which means they are not a model that will likely work for general interest news.” The State of the News Media 2011
New Media So, what about New Media?Surely, consumers must have an advantage here, as there are so many alternative options available!Advertisers have even greater opportunities online where consumers can be narrowed down to specific interests, hobbies, likes- and even their area of residence!
What is a person to do inthis marketing run set-up?