Newspapers are dead long live journalism – or somesuch

Last night I watched a live stream thing on Frontline called: Media talk – Print online: making it pay. You can watch it here http://www.frontlineclub.com/club_videoevents.php?event=2387

It was good, so good that I have been thinking about it on and off ever since I watched it. The basis of the discussion was initially blogger vs desktop publishers. How the hell can we transfer the superb journalism supplied by print newspapers, to online? Alongside the question about whether blogging is a recognised form of journalism, and if so, how to make cash.

This was interesting, but what piqued my interest most was the argument about brand, and how valuable that can be. Paul (Guido) argued that although a print media brand: Telegraph etc might be strong, the value of Jeremy Clarkson, for example, is equal to if not more effective a ‘brand’ online. If people want fun news about cars, they will subscribe to JC (no pun intended), rather than any strongly branded offline publication about motoring, whether it is available online or not.

Made me think. I read the free newspapers (not represented at the talk, sadly) on the train, I read the online newspapers at work, and at the weekend I buy the Sunday papers to read all through the week. I subscribe to the blog feeds that interest me, and more recently those that interest you. This is enough, I make an active decision when buying the paper, signing to a blog feed or grabbing a Metro, but it has nothing at all to do with brand. At all.

So, this discussion was not so much about journalism, or print, or profitability, it was an exercise in ignoring the elephant in the room: the value of brand in this new great age.

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