James Evelegh's editorial from this week's edition of InPubWeekly.
The May / June issue of InPublishing magazine was published this week (if you want to be added to our free mailing list for future issues, register here).
The issue had an international flavour, with Ray Snoddy in Miami, Carolyn Morgan in Berlin and David Hepworth in Perugia. Lots to enjoy.
For me, two themes stood out: firstly, journalism at its best, a bit like medicine, involves a higher calling that supersedes mere numbers. As Miami Herald publisher Alexandra Villoch, who had been a child refugee from Castro’s Cuba, tells Ray Snoddy, what autocrats first seek to do, is control the presses – “if you control the press, you control the people” – and that is why she has such a deep sense of mission. A free press is a pillar of democracy. Closer to home, Aasma Day tells Steve Dyson of the shocking deprivation on the streets of 21st century Britain, right under our noses, and that is why her ‘twilight investigation’ for the Lancashire Post, into the “desperate, disposed and despised”, was so important.
The other theme is summed up nicely by Charlie Beckett, when he refers to the “flight to quality”. Spurred, no doubt, by the realisation that advertising will not fund journalism in the long term, some publishers are eschewing the click-bait model, investing in quality, and, importantly, starting to charge readers. In the era of fake news, there are growing numbers prepared to pay for trusted sources. As Peter Houston says, “trust is one of the most discussed topics in Western media at the moment, mainly because there is none”.
While that is lamentable, it’s not going to change (there have always been liars and the social media platforms certainly aren’t going to stop them), but it does spell opportunity for publishers prepared to differentiate themselves on the basis of quality.