And so to the last week of term, early this year because of a late Easter, and the final week of teaching in the inaugural Journalism Technologies module at the University of Huddersfield. Wrestlemania overnight on Sunday cut the lecture attendance a bit (although some students came straight in having not been to bed, which shows a remarkable commitment to both professional wrestling and academic life).
The lectures up until now had been preoccupied with the present day and the very recent past. So it seemed sensible to use the final one in the series to look into the future, and speculate on some of the developments we might be able to expect in media in the coming years. Likely to play an increasingly significant role in our world more generally is the sharing economy, and with its tradition of freelancing and part-time work, there’s no reason to doubt that more journalism will be done this way. At the centre of this part of the economy are the rising giants of Uber and AirBnB, and so the first section of the lecture traced their stories, the problems they’ve recently faced, and where they might go next.
One intriguing battle dominating the thoughts of many industrial leaders, from Uber to Google and GM and Ford, is to be first on the grid with a driverless car that really works. The reason why this is potentially vitally significant for the media: a potentially dramatic increase in the amount of leisure time for commuters and drivers, which they will probably spend, well, consuming media. Might an Uber TV be the next Sky or Netflix? If it is, then a taxi company which doesn’t own any taxis will suddenly become one of the world’s most important media companies. But then, companies that already fit that bill used to be just social networks, computer makers and online bookshops, so Uber would just fit into a well-established trend.
If there is a lesson, is that’s to see the future of media, we probably need to look outside what we currently think of as the media.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged AirBnB, Ford, General Motors, Google, Journalism Technologies, Netflix, sharing economy, Sky, The Economist, Uber, University of Huddersfield, Wrestlemania
Having looked last week at how journalism was traditionally funded and how those models have been eroded (or, if you prefer, blown apart) by recent developments, this week’s Journalism Technologies lecture took the story on to the present day with an examination of what media companies have been doing to try to make money.
One thing that struck me about the material when delivering it, was actually how slowly some of the themes have moved in recent years. The Daily Mail and The Guardian are still pursuing a strategy of going for huge global audiences and trying to monetise those eyeballs, and while the former is still just about making a bit of money off the back of its sister Mail Online, the latter is, yet again, facing some kind of impending cliff-edge cash crisis. The Times’ paywall is holding firm and the paper just about makes a profit, while the Financial Times and The Economist continue to enjoy more success from their focus on the sort of quality that can’t be easily replicated elsewhere.
I remember mentioning most or all of this stuff to students when I first did some university teaching five or six years ago, and it feels as though we’re still waiting to see how it’ll all be resolved. If there was ever going to be a silver bullet to solve traditional journalism’s funding crisis, the fact it still hasn’t been fired rather suggests it never will be. This great list of 52 potential money-making ideas for local journalism by Josh Stearns offers as good a roadmap as any to the variety of ways in which digital publishers will have to raise revenue now and in the future. I’m slightly more confident than I was before that when it comes to hard cash, quality journalism might end up offering better prospects than the alternatives.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged BBC News, Blendle, Clayton Christensen, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Facebook, fake news, Financial Times, Google, Halifax Courier, Huddersfield, Innovator's Dilemma, Josh Stearns, Journalism Technologies, Mail Online, New York Times, paywalls, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Susie Boniface, The Economist, The Guardian, The Times, Trinity Mirror, University of Huddersfield, UsVsTh3m
I did some teaching at Blackburn College’s University Centre just before Christmas, including this lecture which I gave to a group of first and second year students.
It’s a quick introduction to some of the current themes surrounding the current state of journalism. I thought it was important to emphasise to the students that, although newspapers are generally in decline, there are many factors at work and it’s not just “because of the internet”. I also wanted to stress that the skills they are learning on their course will be useful to them regardless of what they end up doing, whether it’s working for a traditional media company, in some related industry such as PR, or doing their own thing.
Here’s the full presentation.
Posted in Lectures
Tagged 4 Bars Rest, BBC, Blackburn College, Daily Mail, Halifax Courier, iTunes, ITV, Johnston Press, Money Saving Expert, News of the World, Saddleworth News, Sky News, STV, The Daily, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, Trinity Mirror
Today I gave the first of five lectures to MA International Journalism students at the University of Leeds. I’m also taking them for eight practical sessions, and it’s all part of a module aimed at giving them multimedia journalism skills, to go with some of the more academic work they’re doing in other modules.
The students are from several different countries, so I decided to use the first of the formal lectures to give them a bit of background on a few of the major challenges and possibilities facing journalism. I’m a journalist and not really an academic, so it was more of a personal perspective on some key issues rather than an in-depth critical analysis, but hopefully it’ll help put the practical skills I’m teaching them into a bit of context.
You can have a look at the presentation here: http://prezi.com/kgmt_p-4zioc/ma-lecture-1-university-of-leeds/
Posted in Lectures
Tagged Advertising, Alan Rusbridger, BBC, Daily Mail, eBay, Facebook, Le Monde, Liveblogging, Magazines, Newspapers, Rocky Mountain News, Saddleworth News, Sky News, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times, University of Leeds