EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Society of Editors, Bob Satchwell, has claimed that recent comments predicting the demise of the newspaper industry are inaccurate, maintaining that positive changes in the industry are occurring.
Speaking earlier today, he contradicted ‘doom merchant’ journalists who, according to Satchwell, include Guardian reporter Nick Davies, asserting that power is simply shifting in the right direction and that these journalists and commentators were acting like “it is the end of the world”.
He said: “What is happening, in fact, is that the media is being taken over by the people it should have been run by in the first place, and that is the journalists. Journalists are suddenly getting hold of the product.”
The former Journalist of the Year and Crime Reporter of the Year insisted that the change in power, resulting from online outlets and the rise of the blog, will create a far more creative atmosphere for aspiring reporters to enter.
“In the past there has been a control, but now what is happening is that newspapers like the Guardian, who have been at it for ten or twelve years and grabbed hold of the internet phenomenon early now have millions of readers across the world.”
“All of this has been invented by journalists, and journalists are the creative people in newspapers, so sensible management have said, ‘Let’s use their creativity’.”
He also claimed that the people who had made money from newspapers and other media outlets in the past would “find ways of monetising these new platforms”.
Satchwell added: “I believe that there will be a way out of it at the end of the recession, and in a way, the recession will be a blessing in disguise because it will shake the industry up.”
Satchwell’s self-proclaimed optimistic view of the current climate led him to declare that “newspapers have got bigger, better and they have more to offer, and I think what will happen during this recession is that people will have to innovate, they will have to find new ways of doing things.
“I wish that I was twenty-one again, and I would start it all over, because this is the most exciting time for young people to be getting into journalism.”
Far from believing that quality journalism will suffer and that ‘churnalism’ will dominate news stories, Satchwell was adamant that investment in modernisation, and continued endeavours into encouraging good content and great journalism will ensure that newspapers, in one form or another, have a long future.
“It is not the end of the world for newspapers. We may find that newspapers are not as much read on paper, and they may be free in the future because now there is a generation who expect to get their news for nothing. I believe there will be even more people reading the output of newspapers on other platforms.”
- Read this article on the Press Gazette’s website