What if The future of journalism Now the Facebook traffic has gone Is Repeatedly republishing news stories About […]

Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk criticised “holier than thou” and “hypocritical” media companies in a series of tweets last night. He claimed the media had lost the public’s trust and proposed a website, which he plans to call Pravda, to enable readers and viewers to rank the press according to commitment to truth and credibility.

While 85 percent plus of Musk’s Twitter followers supported his idea of a credibility ranking system for news, reporters challenged his accusations, and he was compared to President Donald Trump for his vocal disdain for the press.

Newspaper reporters are earning big money as TV pundits and speakers. “Lucrative gig” and “newspaper journalist” tend not […]

Following on yesterday’s analysis of paywall economics for digital news media, Bloomberg Digital has become the latest news site to switch to a metered paywall system.

Here’s the letter from Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. At $35-$40 a month it’s priced to compete with the FT and the Wall St Journal. The Economist is in its sights too: The upper range subscription includes weekly delivery of Bloomberg Businessweek, the loss-making and (to our minds) underrated print edition.

Around this time last year an Australian real estate millionaire advised young people that they might one day be able to afford mortgages if they were able to forego regular avocado toast, which he priced at AUS$22 a pop. It was an unrealistic comparison, and quickly ridiculed. Most millennials won’t be able to enjoy home ownership in the same way their parents generation did.

But it looks like other perks of previous decades are under threat too, and it may be worth using everyday millennial essentials as a cost comparison. For example: A free press.

Newspapers are under threat. Subscriptions and sales – which made up a bit of newspaper revenue – have fallen through the floor in most cases. Advertising sales – which made the bulk of revenues – have gone digital, and not to digital editions, as we hoped, but to Google and Facebook, who aren’t likely to threaten their valuations by sharing some of the loot to prop up newspapers.

If we don’t find a way to make a generation that has never paid for news to start supporting newspapers, some and maybe most will go out of business.

The millennial toast comparison is as mouldy as day-old avocado but consider others. A latté in Starbucks can cost £3. In hipper artisanal coffee shops you could be looking at £4 or more for a flat white. We’re not going to sneer at a generation with different ideas about where they spend their hard-earned disposable income, especially when they’re deprived of stuff older generations took for granted.

It’s up to them if they feel they get more value from a £4 coffee than they would from a newspaper subscription. But it’s the news industry’s fault that it hasn’t been able to persuade young people that their product might be a better investment than their local coffee shop.

Add another struggle to the newsroom: how to balance the reporting objectivity and broader range of opinion older journalists strive for against the passionate and often impatient activism of the new generation?

A leak of internal Slack messages from New York Times editorial staff highlighted the issue. Younger staffers unhappy with a poorly-judged Tweet by a conservative-leaning columnist ranged further into the Times’s editorial culture, complaining about daily microaggressions, a hostile work environment and mere “lip service” to diversity.

Your take on the story probably depends on your politics, and maybe your age. For the Huffington Post, which leaked the transcripts, the NYT hiring conservative commentators is an offensive act: “Putting a philosopher’s toga on a troll.” It’s firmly on the side of the disgruntled reporting staff.

newsstand_previewWhen historians write the story of the demise of the newspaper industry in the early part of the 21st century, they’ll have a colourful cast of suspects. Colonel Zuckerberg, in the Saloon Bar, with slow-acting poison. Or perhaps Reverends Brin and Page, in the dining room, via strangulation. A range of less exalted figures, including tech-whispering editorial appointees, spurious media think tank gurus and publishers willing to pay them fortunes to divine the future of the industry. Even readers, who, given the choice between paying for the same old undifferentiated content and getting it for free made the rational choice of spending their hard-earned salaries elsewhere.

In truth, no-one expected it to work out this way. Fifteen years ago, as the shockwaves of the first dot.com crash wiped out most of the remaining new media startups, sobered publishing executives knew that while there was little appetite for gushing profiles of dot.com geniuses, the gloomier financial outlook didn’t mean the internet was going away.

Their storied brands and millions of paying readers gave them a moat protecting against the worst of the crash. From here, new empires would be built. Few were in any doubt about the potential of the internet (though its total mobile ubiquity was perhaps underestimated). Newspapers who were prepared for the next phase of internet dominance would make billions. And not only from home readers: Freed of print and distribution costs, anyone in the world with an internet connection was a potential reader.