The advertising revenue of traditional journalism has significantly shrunk since the rise of digital media. The wide use of Internet and growing popularity of social media and digital journalism changed the pattern of how people access news and information. In the past, people need to pay for a newspaper to access news, while nowadays we can acquire free and diverse information from multiple online platforms such as Facebook, Google, blog and some online news sites.
The rapidly decreasing demands of physical newspaper reduce the incentives for businesses to pay for the print newspaper advertisement. Consequently, it is urgent for the traditional media outlets to restore the disappearing revenue.
Steven Waldman, a former senior adviser to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, claims that there is a duty of Google, Facebook and Apple to ‘donate 1% of their corporate profits’ to support traditional journalism, which is ‘ruined by them’.
However, blames would not save the traditional journalism. Innovating the traditional journalism and changing the funding model would be a much useful solution. Some traditional media outlets and journalists react creatively to the digital revolution and gain great success. Some mainstream Chinese news media (Financial Network) started to use social media such as Weibo and Wechat to interact with their audiences. Through analysing the amount of comments and ‘like’ on each news they release, they can understand the social focus and popular trend that netizens are interested in. As the news media can attract more audiences by posting news that accurately caters to audiences’ likes, businesses start to reinvest in advertising on those news media.
Some individual journalists also found their way out. For example, an Australian fashion blogger Margaret Zhang established an online fashion website and attracted lots of sponsors.
To find a suitable funding model and survive in this reform of media, traditional journalism should react actively and adapt themselves to the new pattern of how people access information,