Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Three publishers, three answers on print journalism’s future

If it was Thursday, it must mean there was another “future of journalism” talk. But not a lot of surprises in the answers from National Post president Gordon Fisher, the Toronto Star’s John Cruickshank and the Globe and Mail’s Philip Crawley.

They were speaking at an Empire Club of Canada forum, and here is how the Toronto Star reported their answers on the question of what the print media market will look like in five years:

I think you’re going to see titles disappear,” said Fisher. “We’ll all be producing fewer newspapers,” while the digital universe expands and drives greater revenue, he said.

Cruickshank said business models may change, but fundamentals will remain. “The demographics say that we’re going to have a great public interest in serious journalism, investigative work, especially local journalism, for a long, long time.”

Crawley said that the surviving newspapers “will be those that have a powerful brand that stands for something.”

The article was written for the Star’s audience, but I don’t think the business model question is one that can be easily brushed off.

Investigative journalism is costly. Can digital revenues support it at the local level? The only way is if wage costs come way, w-a-a-a-a-y down.

I do think Crawley’s right about the brand aspect — and traditional accountability journalism will hopefully be part of that branding.

Fri, October 15 2010 » Main Page, Media