Nov 22 2012

A career rises from the grave – a revisit

Published by at 9:56 am under Europe,Opinion,Top Stories

In Germany newspapers and news agencies are closing down now at the rate of almost one per week. Today it was the turn of Financial Times Deutschland (FTD), my favourite local business daily. As a subscriber (2002 till the end) I was convinced the FTD was a far better read than the “mother paper” Financial Times on the island. 

That put about 300 business journalists on the street from one day to the next. I don’t know how many lost their jobs when the Frankfurter Rundschau closed last week. Or when the news network DAPD closed two weeks ago. The number of jobs lost in quality journalism in Germany in the past month may well add up to 1,000.

The outlook for business journalism (they call it quality journalism) is so dreary, that big companies have taken to issuing public statements, saying they (and the economy) need publications which give journalists time to dig themselves into their fields. Most notable was the Deutsche Bank statement.

(You’ll remember the furore after the financial crisis broke in 2008, when many asked why the financial media didn’t or couldn’t detect the growing property price bubble beforehand (The Economist, for one, did. But, that’s a story for another day.)

Against this background, the loss of expertise in the past month takes on yet another dimension. But, now to what this blog post is really about: the night is at its darkest just before the dawn.

Quality journalism hasn’t been under attack since yesterday. The career quality journalism died already in the late 90s, when the internet made it possible for everyone to be a journalist and for everyone to start his own publication (such as this blog). (Not that this is quality journalism….)

The public (and even many journalists) only got wind of this many years later. In fact, today (the day on which the FTD died) is a day to celebrate. Because quality journalism has emerged from the grave and is making a comeback as a career.

For what I mean, read this post of mine dated August 3, 2011.

I still believe that observation was spot-on. So, while everyone is in “sak en as” over the death of quality journalism, I’m celebrating the rebirth of the fantastic career called quality journalism.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “A career rises from the grave – a revisit”

  1. adminon 22 Nov 2012 at 10:19 am

    The death of the printed FTD is sad, but also presents an opportunity: it offers the chance to FORCE consumers of quality journalism (such as business journalism) from print to iPad (or similar tablets). In Germany, I guess, up to 30% of the 100,000 FTD subscribers (including me) would immediately take their daily FTD injections on the iPad – if that was the only place they could get that shot. The rest may need a bit of a push…

    To repeat the point: if you need the shot, you go where you can get it.

    So, Gruner + Jahr (owners of FTD) should relaunch FTD on the iPad. I’m not talking now of an e-paper, such as the one they’ve had. A REAL iPad version FTD, with interactivity, social aspects, ads (such as The Economist does it on its iPad version) and creative goodies not yet thought up before!

    And then G+J should be bold (no, very bold) in helping this migration from print to subscription iPad on…. How? They should offer a free iPad for every 2-year subscription (full amount to be paid in advance).

    To existing print subscribers (including me) they should write a letter advising us that print is no more, and offering us a free 1-year iPad subscription.

    Finally, they should ALREADY NOW announce a BIG subscription price increase to come two years from now. Because quality journalism is expensive and because Germany’s economy needs quality journalism.

    If managers can’t be made to understand that they need to pay for things they cannot do without – then who else?

    So, come on G+J. Grab the opportunity. Take this bold step for the sake of quality journalism.


  2. Christo Volschenkon 15 Jan 2013 at 8:56 am

    To see that you’ve spotted the trend – and well before others – always leaves a warm feeling. I refer to this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jan/13/print-spies-hope-struggle-losses

  3. adminon 25 Apr 2013 at 4:06 pm

    More proof that journalism (as a career) is dead… http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/211353/newspaper-reporter-is-worst-job-in-2013-study-says/


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