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Postjournalism and the death of newspapers

’Postjournalism and the Death of Newspapers’, may be the most profound analysis of the subject since the last time Marshall McLuhan wrote about it.

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’Postjournalism and the Death of Newspapers’, may be the most profound analysis of the subject since the last time Marshall McLuhan wrote about it.

‘Postjournalism’ manages to map the breadth of our madcap media environment without losing any depth of analysis; to the extent that chaos can be understood, the reader of ‘Postjournalism’ will walk away wiser about his place in the asylum. Mir describes a universe in which the news now chases the reader rather than the other way around. Everything is told in a wonderful epigrammatic style – you will be digging up quotes from it for years.

Hundreds of thousands of today’s students have never even touched a newspaper.

The market is already ready to drop newspapers, but society is not yet. The last newspaper generation’s habits will preserve at least some demand for newspapers for a while. Newspapers will exist as an industrial product for no longer than the mid-2030s. Some vintage use of newspapers may remain afterwards, but it will be a matter of arts, not industry.

The least obvious and yet most shocking aspect of the discussion about the death of newspapers is the fact that we are discussing the fate of journalism, not just a carrier. This is neither a cyclical crisis nor a matter of transition; this is the end of an era.

“Postjournalism and the death of newspapers” unveils the economic and cultural mechanisms of agenda-setting in the news media at the final stage of their historical existence. As advertising has fled to the internet and was absorbed there almost entirely by the Google-Facebook duopoly, the news media have been forced to switch to another source of funding – selling content to readers. However, they cannot sell news, because news is already known to people from social media newsfeeds. Instead, the media offers the validation of already-known news within a certain value system and the delivery of the “right” news to others.

The business necessity forces the media to relocate the gravity of their operation from news to values. Media outlets are increasingly soliciting subscriptions as donations to a cause. To attract donations, they have to focus on ‘pressing social issues’.

The ad-driven media manufactured consent. The reader-driven media manufactures anger. The former served consumerism. The latter serves polarization and Trumpism.

The need to pursue reader revenue and therefore the dependence on the audience, with the news no longer being a commodity, is pushing journalism to mutate into postjournalism. Journalism wants its picture to match the world; postjournalism wants the world to match its picture. The media are turning into crowdfunded Ministries of post-truth not because of some underlying conspiracies but due to their business needs and the settings of a broader media environment. The author explores polarization as a media effect, seeing polarization studies as media studies.

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