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What is Quality Journalism and How Can It Be Saved.

What is Quality Journalism and How Can It Be Saved.

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Published by Eric Prenen

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Published by: Eric Prenen on Dec 09, 2010
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The discussion on the future of journalism has been more about the survival
of newspapers as a business than about the survival of the kind of serious
journalism traditional ‘quality’ papers provide. Charlie Beckett thinks that the
debate about the death of newspapers is a silly one – he predicts that newspapers
will provide much more read-in-a-minute service journalism online and the
more serious content will drift into magazines. Newspapers might reinvent
themselves as magazines.

Most of my interviewees are not too bothered about the survival of the printed
newspaper – as long as its functions are preserved on other platforms. The
move towards the Internet, mobile and tablets is generally seen as inevitable.
Around 70 percent of an average newspaper’s budget goes into things to do
with ‘dead wood’, i.e. printing and distribution. When these costs are cut, and
operations moved into ones and zeros, a lot of money could be saved. Alas,
the problem is not as simple as that. As long as display advertising works –
and pays – markedly better in print, newspapers cannot simply ‘stop the





On the other hand, Christopher McKane points out that News International
has recently spent some £600 million in new printing presses. McKane himself
worked on this project.

It was an enormous investment. All I say to people who say this

is crazy, I say look, Rupert Murdoch is one of the cleverest, a

very astute businessman. If he thinks we can make those prints

still pay for themselves in 20 years’ time, anybody can. I would

never have thought that we would print our biggest rival the

Daily Telegraph, but we do now.

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