I started writing this post just over a month ago, but my mind wondered and led me elsewhere. Truth is that since then I’ve been following the figures for media companies, especially their advertising income and it is looking grim for journos, real grim. And I wonder if their focusing in news stories on the negative has come back to haunt them.
After all, some figures say that The Independent is now loosing 14 pence a copy and is primed for a takeover from a not so liberal title that is itself being reported be readying itself to axe 140 news jobs. While contracts that are coming to an end are not being renewed and news staff are not being replaced. Shocking stuff not just for journalists, but for us PRs who need them there to pick up our stories. And of course fewer journalists mean fewer pages, which means less space for stories.
It is going to get very tough for us all - journos and PRs, but I do wonder if UK media’s constant wish of running stories on the negative has pushed the economy that bit too much into recession. Advertising spend is spiralling down, the same spend that is the lifeblood of print, broadcast and online media.
After all, 18 months ago the media were talking at the impending credit crunch, which was going to ‘annihilate capitalism as we know it.’ And indeed, the crunch came and, wait for it, went – or is going slowly, albeit with considerable help from the Government. But, while the pages of our papers were warning us of ‘the crunch’ they were also telling us about a possible depression. Shock horror, a depression <drum-roll please!>. It sounds scary, very scary. Yes, the doom-mongering dailies wanted the biggest and baddest headline. Depression changed to recession, which is now what we are in, and from what we read it's going to be bad and last for 12 to 18 months.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the media for reporting the fact that we find ourselves in difficult times, just the fact that here in the UK the tone in their reporting has been very negative, to be point of scaremongering in some cases. While in countries like the US news reporting focuses on the up, optimistic views and outlook.
The case is that the media has been telling us for nearly two years that ‘we live in interesting times,’ yet this popular Chinese proverb is in fact is a curse. Writing on the negative, looking for the worst isn’t going to get the economy going. It isn’t going get us to spend. And it isn’t going get jobs back in newsrooms.
There is a need for strong and transparent journalism, but I wonder if fear continues to sell and continues to safeguard the jobs people so desperately need.
Just a thought!