Yesterday I was ironically on my way to a job interview with a digital and print media organisation in Melbourne, when I heard the news that Fairfax had announced its plans to cut 1,900 jobs across their boards in a massive reconstructive attempt.
My instant reaction was a cringe.
Ever since I can remember holding a pen to my hand, I have thought of myself to one day be a successful journalist in a striving news community in the city. Perhaps I didn’t always see myself in the hard-news industry specifically, but I saw myself in the print news nonetheless. But yesterday’s news made me want to weep in my room for humanity, and had myself drastically fearing that perhaps I will one day wake to the world full of robots and automatons, in a land where the human brain is non-exististent.
‘The Age’ cuts 1,900 jobs to turn digital.
Indulging in a conversation with a friend on the matter last night, I was reminded by him that the Fairfax cuts are a part of the coming-of-age for the news industry; as technological-driven beings, we now expect to gain our knowledge and information in in our hands, when we want it. Who wants to walk down to the milk bar to buy a newspaper these days?
Well, actually, after hearing what I did on the train, that was exactly what I did. And I haven’t actually purchased a newspaper in hard-form in a long time. Goes without saying. I wept.
It’s no doubt that the news and media industry is transforming itself into web-based giants that feed of the revenue of pay-by-click and Google search rankings, but what is more sad is the fact that those who have the actual talent to produce proper printed work, will no longer have a job for their talents at all.
Instead, Fairfax has announced its reconstruction to take on the tabloid category and face bringing the “trash” over the hard-hitting facts. Let’s face it, if the screen in front of you offered two articles, one on the closing of hospital beds, and one on Fergie having bladder problems on stage again, I can guarantee that the Black Eyed Peas pants-wetter will win it over.
And it’s sad. It’s really, really sad.
These days, the hard-news gets about as much attention as printed news itself. As a passionate writer for print media, I have longed to see myself published in something that I can hold in my hand, and not have to stare at on a glare-filled screen. Unfortunately, though, the terms of that happening have altered drastically.
I have been forced to embrace it, and not just by the means of this blog. My jobs now consist of digital media publications and that’s fine with me…provided print news still exists. But I fear in five years time, I may actually be visiting the funeral of the National dailies (Fairfax, News Limited etc.) and I will weep for them.
An article in today’s edition of The Age (of course online), blames consumers for the 1,900 job losses and media facelift.
“The media isn’t failing because it’s not giving people what they want. We know exactly what you want, even if you don’t care to admit it. Worthy but dull reporting of landmark health legislation? Not so much. Upskirt shots of Lindsay Lohan spilling out of a limo at The Viper Room? Not just yes, but hell yes!” – John Birmingham, The Age
It’s true. Completely true. The quality of news is less expected these days, if it guarantees that disturbing images of celebrity drunken antics will be plastered over the screens, whilst people drink their coffees and amuse themselves on the train.
Just before I heard the news yesterday, I looked around the cabin of the train and observed the commuters around me; iPads, iPhones, smartphones, laptops, MacBooks and hands-free devices. None of them a newspaper. I cringe again.
It is the new Age and I’m being forced to embrace it, but as I hover my mouse over the ‘publish’ button right now, I look to the copy of The Age next to me on my desk…am I looking at one of the last?