We've heard President Barack Obama give the State of the Union this week. But what's the state of Web journalism, something that continues to evolve and change?
One question being asked about the industry is whether Web journalism is a lasting industry or a temporary bubble. David Carr of The New York Times examined this question, asking, “Is there a big and lasting business being built or simply a lot of to-ing and fro-ing by entrepreneurs and investors taking advantage of suddenly fast and loose cash?”
Carr said that some media industries are dependent on each other and social media platforms, like Facebook. And there’s a financial aspect to consider, too, as “the digital pie may be growing, but the advertising rates are going down, spurred by competition among the many different sites,” Carr wrote.
Before asking this question, Carr asked whether Web journalism asserts itself in the journalism marketplace. Carr noted how Ezra Klein, a popular blogger and writer of The Washington Post, will be moving to Vox Media, which owns sports site SB nation and technology website The Verge. He said Klein and other big-time journalists moving to digital startups is the beginning of the next Web journalism bubble.
“Organizations like BuzzFeed, Gawker, The Huffington Post, Vice and Vox, which have huge traffic but are still relatively small in terms of profit, will eventually mature into the legacy media of tomorrow,” Carr wrote.
But to look forward, should we be looking back first? The Guardian recently spoke to three Internet experts, who all spoke on how the industry has changed in regards to journalism. The three — Justin Hall, Meg Hourihan and Dave Winer — are “three blogging pioneers” and were interviewed as a way to see how blogging and the Internet has changed in the last two decades.
And in spite of recent opinions that blogging is dead, Winer said the practice of blogging is going to live on for many years to come.
“Blogging was never alive,” Winer said. “It's the people that matter. There will always be a small number who are what I call 'natural born bloggers.' They were blogging before there were blogs, they just didn't know what it was called. Julia Child was a blogger as was Benjamin Franklin and Patti Smith. I inherited my blogging gene from my mom, who is 81 and has a blog.”
And blogging is demonstration by Internet users to show how far communications devices have come in the last two decades, the three bloggers told The Guardian. Hall said blogging is more personal and still has a place in the world.
“Blogging can be done for a private audience, but mostly we think of blogging as a contribution to the knowledge commons, the shared public information space,” Hall said. “Not all blogging is explicitly for the knowledge commons, but it’s usually some kind of self-expression or performance of personal identity that is accessible to a broader audience.”