One of the striking lessons that I’ve taken away from the mess about NSA and GCHQ and surveillance in general is that you don’t actually need newspapers, magazines and TV-stations any more. Journalism is somewhat independent of those now.
I say somewhat because newspapers and TV-stations still give you an audience, and the volume of the megaphone that say The Guardian has offered the blogger and journalist Glenn Greenwald is substantial.
I would say, however, that The Guardian has the Edward Snowden files because they had Glenn Greenwald, and not the other way around. The Guardian became the custodian of the leaked documents because of their of the association of Greenwald.
Another element of the ‘somewhat’ is that The Guardian offers Greenwald a buffer between those that wish to silence him, and publication. In so far that a newspaper offers that buffer and the megaphone, it is useful.
That is where the usefulness ends, and that is a lesson that the industry could learn. If smaller entities could recreate the buffer and the megaphone, then journalism could decentralize quite a bit.
Internet offers that buffer quite cheaply, but not necessarily easily, and if say a group of teams of investigative journalists could gather under one brand, one site, then the site and the brand could offer that buffer as being the publisher.
Something to think about, isn’t it? The number of journalism employment ads are up, but the number of journalism jobs is down. There’s a disconnect there, and that’s probably because some people realise the same thing I’ve realised.
You don’t strictly need newspapers, TV-stations and magazines any longer.