07 June 2012

Page One

Page One
Page One: Inside The New York Times & The Future Of Journalism, edited by David Folkenflik, is a collection of essays to complement Andrew Rossi's documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times. Rossi writes the book's first chapter, describing the background to his film.

There are also contributions from several senior New York Times journalists, including media correspondent David Carr. Scott Shane writes about the newspaper's uneasy collaboration with WikiLeaks and the sensitivities of publishing leaked US embassy cables.

For the 'born digital' generation, printed newspapers such as the New York Times are largely an anachronism. Consumers increasingly read on screen rather than on paper, preferring instant Twitter updates instead of detailed newspaper analysis. Also, readers expect that online content should be free, and online advertising is less lucrative than traditional print advertising, so newspaper profits (and print circulations) are in sharp decline.

Page One addresses and advocates this digital transformation, arguing that recent reports of the death of journalism are greatly exaggerated. Emily Bell and Alan Rusbridger suggest that firewalls and 'freemium' models simply drive potential visitors to free alternatives. (Two UK newspapers, The Guardian and the Daily Mail, have successfully penetrated the American market by generating free content for their respective websites, though how to make a profit is another matter.) Jim Bankoff challenges former editor Bill Keller's concerns about news aggregators, though I'm not fully convinced.