Cutting and Charging: The Way of the Future?

10Sep12

More and more newspapers are reducing the days they print their papers to three times per week, encouraging their subscribers on these off-days to go to their websites for the news; some are discontinuing their print versions altogether. This has been a response to the decreasing profitability of traditional print newspapers, and, in turn, has affected the jobs and careers of news workers and media professionals in the digital age.

This industry trend is acutely visible in Finland, where this year over 100 journalists have been cut from staffs, as news publishers like Sanoma take steps “to reorganise their operations and streamline cost structures.” In addition to announcing nearly 100 redundancies, the company also revealed that restructuring negotiations would affect more than 800 additional people, whose jobs will undergo “redefinition.”

The newspaper is pervasive in everyday life in Finland, where the Finnish Newspapers Association estimates that nearly every Finn reads one or more newspapers daily. Restructurings such as these demonstrate how creative industries are trying to address both the changing needs of consumers as well as changes in technology, which directly impact the profitability of creative production and the lives of media workers. These processes are not uni-directional: while the needs of consumers shape the content creative industries produce, at the same time, the cultural products that are produced and the scope of available technology determine what customers can desire. Deuze (2007, p. 49) summarizes this reflexive relationship in the following passage:

“If media lead the world, it is because media follow it; if media manage to disseminate new patterns of life, it is because media replicate such patterns in the media’s own mode of being. Media are our window to the world, yet also function as its mirror; media reflect and direct at the same time.”

In the example from the article, while it was a creative industry that first introduced the product of the digital newspaper to the public, it is the public who are now demanding more of that product from the industry. Inherently, this is an unstable dynamic that creates a risky and uncertain environment for the future of media professionals.

The article, “Finnish publisher Sanoma cutting and charging to adapt for future,” by Robert Andrews can be found at: http://paidcontent.org/2012/09/05/finnish-publisher-sanoma-cutting-and-charging-to-adapt-for-future/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pcorg+%28paidContent%29

Muge Fazlioglu

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