Journalism has been taking a massive hit over the last few years and it has come to the point where we have to ask ourselves some hard questions. Is journalism dying? And should we even bother to save it?
I was lying on top of my bed, going through emails from PRs and companies when my laptop pinged a notification from a message board. One of my fellow bloggers had found another article from a “journalist” dumping on bloggers. And I mean “journalist” because using a journalism degree to dump on a bunch of bloggers seems like a waste of an education to me. But I’m not bitter. I read the article and laughed. It was another low attempt to stir up a bit of outrage in the hope of generating views on a failing news site. It wasn’t the first time I had seen an article like this and it won’t be the last. But I will admit, I cried at the end. Tears of laughter streamed down my face as I saw the final section of the page. The last part, after trying to rip bloggers a new one, asked for donations to be made to the site. Yeah, nice try Guardian.
The decline of journalism
It might be easy to point the finger at bloggers for the decline in media, but the interest in what the papers have to say has been declining for years. Back in the 1990’s, there was a massive stream of celebrity scandals that were dug up by the papers. Footballers, the Royal Family and minor celebrities were the lifeblood of the newspaper industry. Allegations of affairs, sexual preference…basically, the more private and dirty the laundry, the more they dug. But it doesn’t stop there. There have been several large scandals within the media in the noughties too. Phone tapping by the News of the World is one of the most shocking scandals to come from the media.
The concept of “fake news” is not new and has been around for quite some time. The big difference is, since the rapid growth of the blogging community, there are now people who can call journalists out for slight fabrications and complete lies. And after the events of the last 20 years, people just don’t trust the media. There are big payouts and hushed whispers of coverups. Newspapers are reporting on libel cases against other newspapers. We aren’t talking about someone muddling a bit of research, we are talking about journalists making up stories from thin air. Meanwhile, bloggers are searching for the truth while risking their lives and imprisonment.
Not all bloggers
While it might be tempting to scoff at my last statement, it is true. Not for every blogger is risking life and limb, but there are a dedicated few who are independent journalists, searching for the truth. And the same can be said about “proper journalists”. The problem is that some “proper journalists” have repeatedly pissed on the people who have supported them from a great height. Because bloggers don’t have the financial backing or a big legal team behind them, they are very careful about what they put out there. In fact, bloggers are incredibly susceptible to being manipulated by advertisers. As the fame and the cash have increased, many bloggers have quit because of the pressures from advertisers who are sponsoring posts.
Worse than blogs
One of the big complaints about bloggers is the ads on their sites or the paid promotions. Heaven forbid someone should get paid! I had a look at the Daily Mail recently and could barely get it to load due to the number of ads on the page. Vogue launched an attack on fashion bloggers, claiming that they were sucking the life out of style. That is rich coming from them as most of the magazine is filled with ads (go flick through a copy if you don’t believe me). Magazines and newspapers are very quick to point the finger at the annoying things that bloggers do but fail to recognise they do the same things but on a much larger scale.
I don’t hate the big media, journalism or any aspect of the industry that I’m part of. There are plenty of publications that see the value that a blogger can bring to the table. Those glossy pages or inky spreads will be the ones to benefit from the blogging community and the influence that we have. Those who choose to be bitchy and continue to work against us will crash and burn. And probably turn to blogging to bitch about how bloggers ruined their career and killed the industry. Bloggers are not to blame, it’s the sensational shit stirring that never seems to stop that is killing it.