News has never been more immediate, with twentyfour hour rolling news channels, talk radio, websites, instant feedback through email, blogging, even twitter.
And yet, for many in the industry, things have never been as grim.
It’s not just that media groups face the same problems as everyone else, be it debt leverage, shellshocked pension funds, or falling revenues as copy sales and advertising drop off.
Newspapers are expensive. Specifically, journalists are expensive. So owners cut costs, which means cutting the number of journalists.
Frontline newsgatherers can be pared back, replaced by copy from the wires. Subeditors can be let go, and their work subcontracted to outside agencies.
But if everyone takes the wires, every newspaper looks the same. And if your subeditors are in a different country, you better hope they understand the nuances of your libel laws.
And lurking in the background is the internet, faster than paper and filled with users who don’t want to pay for your content.
Editors worry about financial restraints, and how to produce a paper on budget. Staffers worry if there will be a newspaper in a year’s time. Freelances worry because contracts dry up, cheques are delayed, story pitches passed.