I read the news today, oh boy

I found out John Lennon had died from the TV  in a newsflash while watching cartoons after school, saw the twin towers fall live on CNN, discovered Michael Jackson had died from Ninemsn and John Hughes’ death from Twitter.

Growing up, my news cycle was listening to the morning news on 3LO (we used this as a timer- if AM came on at 8am while still having our breakfast we knew we were running late), watching the news at 6pm, and reading The Herald after dinner. I used to read the paper on the floor- it was a broadsheet and I was too short to read it properly on the table.

Nowadays, it is a constant stream of news. I check news websites regularly during the day, I have the news from Crikey emailed to my inbox, and I have Newscentre and Factiva at work.

Now Australian online news sites News.com.au and The Age are to start charging for the content. Well not all content, just the ‘premium’ content, which presumably means investigative reporting, commentary and opinion pieces. Will this proposed funding model sustain the online newspaper as a viable medium? What they receive from subscriptions may be a trickle rather than a flood. Their previous revenue was derived from the selling of classifieds and advertising space- perhaps newspapers should have been addressing the funding shortfall years ago rather than now.

Journalism is facing a challenge in the same way as librarianship faced a challenge when the Internet became ubiquitous.

The Internet was supposed to herald the end of librarians as information providers, as people are now able to access the information at point of need.  Librarians are no longer the gatekeepers of all knowledge, but have over the past dozen years, become facilitators to knowledge and educators to those who wish to access the Internet. They have also become defenders against Internet censorship. Hopefully quality journalism can find a niche amongst the gossip and video clips that pervade the web.


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