The Pew Research Center, as part of its “Project for Excellence in Journalism,” polled members of the American Society of News Editors and the Radio Television Digital News Association to determine their thoughts on the Future of Journalism. Pew received a total of 353 sets of responses, a good portion of which did not express much optimism: 48 percent of editors polled said that, without a significant new revenue stream, their employers could not remain adrift for another decade. An additional 31 percent gave their organizations five years or less.
Of the editors polled, 58 percent opined that journalism was “headed in the wrong direction,” with 62 percent chiming in that the Internet had “changed the profession’s fundamental values” where quality standards for reporting were concerned.
The question, then, is what news organizations and publications propose doing in order to enact higher standards for reporting, counteract competition from “the Internet” (an often nebulous, vague segment of journalism that we highly suspect gets a bad rep despite the fact that the bulk of major news outlets have an online presence with breaking news and constant updates), and establish new or improved means of drawing revenue.
Broadcast executives who participated in the poll seemed to think that their organizations were not doing enough quickly enough to offer competition:
When asked why the industry was in such trouble, nearly half the editors said that in good times, the demands for profit margins were excessive, while many others said their organizations were too slow to embrace and invest in the Internet. And 30 percent of the print editors said their papers should have begun charging Internet readers long ago.
That said, a good portion of those polled — about 75 percent of the group — said they would be opposed to accepting help from the government and/or from non-profits.
So maybe they should look into offering free Cracker Jack prizes (or other such incentives) for readers?