The Troubles Facing Journalism by Dave Biro




By Dave Biro

The Vultures Roost

Sunday January 24th, 2016


These are observations, I don’t claim to be smart enough to figure out all the answers.

Imagine- if I owned a sandwich shop, and gave away my sandwiches for free, why would anyone buy them from me?

If I owned a news outlet and put all my material online, tweeting key stories even before I printed or broadcast them,  posting whole stories before they get printed or broadcast, why would anyone watch or read material on my main outlet when and how I want them to?

That is the kind of dilemma facing journalism today.

Almost daily we see stories of downsizing and job cuts in journalism

This is the dark downside of the digital revolution.

Copyright, once jealously guarded barely exists now,  ownership of material reduced to smoke on the wind, belonging to no one.

Gone are the days when a publisher would go after an interloper for “stealing our stuff”

Instead they basically give it away, hoping some advertiser will come along and buy a piece of the swirling smoke in the internet air.

Then they wonder why they are losing money, so they amputate, they cut jobs, diversity of thought, and quality of content.

Left with a thinning product and no idea what to do about it, there is a downward spiral that produces more and more “easy news” or junk, and less and less content that sets outlets apart.

The concept of making internet users pay has been tried, and has mostly failed.

So the question is, what is the product worth?

Increasingly not enough, or not much, that’s where we are at.

It would seem to make sense that the answer should be a determination to make the product worth more, and not give it away.

There may be a relatively bright future for current events programs like the CBC’s Fifth Estate, and CTV’s W-5, where usually the program is heavily promoted and then airs before the real content material is posted online.

More of that kind of approach to content could be helpful, if publishers of material could back off the lure of trying first to be internet stars, and show people more of what they have done, and less of what they are doing.

Make more value in the product through quality of content, and don’t give it away.

But, if not—here’s a sandwich, take one, they’re free.



  1. It would appear that Mcdonalds no longer gives away the Province to the first 50 or so customers.
    Mind you the Province even before the dawn of the internetwas a compilation of old news.

  2. Dave:

    Well stated.

    We can even say that the internet is a giant sewer pipe of sorts, spewing filth, clean drinking water and sewer water, all from the same pipe?

    The larger question is, who owns the internet and how can money can be made from it ?

    Answer: no one person or corporation can own or control the internet.

    Prior to the internet, the traditional news media in this country were an exclusive club, ie exploitative, even greedy.

    They also raked in profits for years.

    Much of that so called journalism was a facade to begin with, as media and government slept in the same bed.

    Now, with the internet, it opens up the playing field a lot more, but there is less money to be made.

    However, the good news is that the news media can never go back to the good ole days, when politicians, journalists, and the establishment all slept in the same bed and fed each other?

    This includes the daily newspaper with its preponderous, ass kissing editorials and pomposity, as if they were important.

    Newspapers will be the first casualty of the internet era, basically all going bankrupt, until there will be no paper books and magazines as well.

    Will journalism even survive or exist in 100 years ?

    Who knows, Dave. I say, not as we know it.

    I think that the cream puff interview and gossip type celebrity news is here to stay.


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