Reporting is now a commdity, but journalism isn't - what implications does that have for print?
In the excellent post I mention in the intro, George F. Snell concludes: "If newspapers and magazines want to survive they should focus on journalism and leave the reporting to the web." He draws a sharp distinction between journalism and reporting and argues that the web has made reporting into a commodity (do check out the full post).
I think this is a very useful prism to see the strenghts and weaknesses of print and web through. I don't agree that bloggers can't do journalism though. If we are to use Snell's definitions of journalism and reporting, I think some bloggers at times do better journalism than paid journalists because mainstream media, and especially news sites, focus too much of their resources on reporting (update 10/12: for more on bloggers and journalism, see e.g my contribution to "Playing Footsie with the FTS?").
But today's overcrowded marketplace and tough financial conditions challenges media organisations to look very closely at how they can add unique value, and Snell offers an excellent prism to see recent print innovations through.
A few days ago Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet relaunched its Sunday edition in what can best be described as magazine format:
I wasn't too impressed because it read like a smaller and thinner version of the same old Dagbladet. I'll probably still buy it from time to time, weekends being just about the only time of the week I still buy newspapers (that and when I'm travelling and short on laptop battery-time), but I would have been much more impressed if it came out looking something like this:
I must admit I shamelessly nicked this photo of Portugees daily newsmagazine I from Mark Hamilton post about it. This is a post I've been wanting to blog about for some time as Mark offers a really interesting review of "I". It's not so much the format that captures my imagination, though it seems to fit the content well, as the fact that it promises serious journalism that would satisfy Snell's definition - and it is def. something I would consider an attractive buy.
Not every day though. There's no way I could fit a daily newsmagazine into my daily routine, I've got more than enough with keeping up with my hundreds of RSS-feeds during the week, but it would be perfect for the slower pace of the weekend.
Incidentally, the newsmagazine might also be the direction Mecom is considering to take its newspapers in. The company is launching a pilot project in two of its Norwegian regional newspapers where these are to focus on stories rather than channels, and resources are to be divided 50/50 between print and online. The pilot-project is inspired by Danish media company Nordjydske Medier's "fully integrated" multimedia model, and we could see Mecom's pilot newspapers focus more on storytelling and analysis in print and more on news reporting online. It will be interesting to see how it works out...