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Digital Tech Ad Journalism Fallout: Why E Newspapers Are Still Playing Catch Up

E news
E news
Public domain

Given the New York Times's ongoing struggles to meet the new age demands of 24/7 social media and a wider variety of news interests, downsized gadgets and abbreviated blogs have made old fashioned headlines obsolete. When the news of the day was delivered by TV airwaves and printed stock, the world was not so ubiquitously connected. When 4th estate industry left paper trails, there were less publications, less writers, less stories and a more finite literary establishment. Today not so much. The Internet has made modern multimedia a universal tech profession where content mobility is only as good as SEO keywords and ad links.

In the digital age, the process of writing is no longer one job if it is to be successful. Since the info-wants-to-be-free ideology of tech pioneers envisioned a free for all web where no one pays for site access short of an ISP bill, most copy must be ad driven. That puts constraints on job performance and work responsibilities once streamlined between those who wrote the news and those who delivered it. Now in an online era of instant gratification access, written words must follow what is trending and the most popular news stories are dictated by social networks and not marketing gurus. With net trend taste far too unpredictable to guess at.

The reason why newspapers fail vs. specialized blogs is an all for one and one for all target audience mentality where content is homogenized and not categorized or referenced according to age group or social status. So online transplanted newspapers that once thrived in print media are at a demographic crossroads as to whether to appeal to short attention span web fans or mature everymen who after a work day used to pay to read the daily news. The imposition is that with such a world wide web playing field for free content, ad targeted news has to take up the slack as commerce based journalism in order to attract more readers.

What this ad powered Internet does, however, is leave less room for editorial content and opinion columns to breed controversy and secure site loyal traffic. If every article must be about a product or a service to inform consumers, lure hits and direct ad revenue, journalism loses its function as a form of entertainment and becomes an extension of advertizing. This is why most net startups are fledgling enterprises and media's commercial based info superhighway business model must be more subtle to work. When every site is a blog in ad form, a net writer's demoted role is to window dress E commerce and not be a storyteller salesman.

The other missive to take away from E news networking is the social media scourge of online reporting. When anybody and everybody is allowed to address what's in the news, what it does is turn the latest breaking story into a cyber town hall where current events only exist as a opportunity to respond to them. This crowd feedback schism can overshadow the news itself and devalues journalism as a rule. What used to be saved for newspaper weekend letters to the editor now makes everyone a writer or pundit. That blog babble tower is why E news profit is broken. Too many media critics at large spoil the brand name.

The newspaper business has not caught on to the overkill of online media and that is why their Internet incarnations are plodding along with hard sell ad post tactics that send surfers away. When one has several marketing jobs to fill to write online, the effect is to become more of an ad copywriter than a pure journalist. To survive amidst multimedia that adheres to the same hot topic grindstone with little or no originality, webmasters need to delegate and separate Internet duties and let writers write. That way the part of E literature that is a showtime showcase will draw a crowd by virtue of valuing content as a product in and of itself.

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