In last week’s Media Monitoring News, our feature article studied how sponsored content may solve the shortfall of advertising and circulation revenues for publishers. Here’s the other side of the argument. Robert Cringely (pen name of journalist Mark Stephens and a string of other InfoWorld columnists) calls out such sponsored content as a murderer of journalism. In Here Lies Web Journalism, Dead at the Hand of the Almighty Advertiser, Cringely reminisces of the old days when there was a “separation of church and state,” or editorial and business. Now, the separation is disappearing, resulting in publications like BuzzFeed and the demise of independent journalism.
Also nostalgic is journalist and editor Edward Kosner, who says he misses the deadline-ridden, credibility-seeking newsroom. Counting the Costs of the New-News Chaos recounts how the new era of tweeting and blogging steals a sense of coherence that once kept journalists sane. Real-time reporting via Twitter may be a truer expression of reality, he admits, but it comes at the cost of unrefined, unreliable and contradictory information.
As Eliza Kern puts it, “it’s fair to say that the future of news consumption and media won’t look like a bunch of traditional newspapers copied onto the desktop web.” 5 Startups Changing the Way the News Business Delivers Content lists the themes that emerged from a recent PaidContent Live 2013 conference. Panelists agreed that even with the success of sponsored content, we’re far from reaching a consensus to solve the problems of publishers. One thing is certain: traditional advertising is unlikely to sustain the future of online content.