Boy, there's some intriguing stuff packed into this short Online Journalism Review piece by Robert Niles, stuff that gets said on the way to saying something else, and those are the bits that give me pause!
They seem to have more ramifications for the world of writing and literacy than they do for the world of vocational training for journalists, although they are also in some sense tossed off, and could use more support than a hasty generalization.
So I figure, why not look in at them here? Let's look beyond the practical vo-tech employment concerns and wax a bit philosophical.
The short answer is, of course, "whatever someone will pay for it." But a more thoughtful response gets at why people are willing to exchange something of value for news information.
101 teaches that if more people want something, and the scarcer it is,
the higher the price. With millions of new websites competing for
people's attention, advertising rates across all media have plunged,
threatening news businesses that depend upon advertising income.
[Hmmm. Tell the Econ 101 argument to poets, and they may beg to differ.
While journalists have long had to contend with the idea that their best work has the value of the Daily Fishwrap, the thing that people pile up unread, throw away daily, or use to line birdcages, poets have lived with this deep knowledge, that their very best work, their best of the best, work that strives for standing the test of time, or ephemeral, contingent, and quickly forgotten work like performance art, has an economic value of precisely ZERO, since before the time of Gutenberg.
Just another voice in the wind about the very real difficulties facing journalism right now. So many people have talked about a non-profit journalism sector, operating largely along the lines of public radio and public television, with telethon-like beg-fests that apparently turn up a fair amount of cash (much to the annoyance of anyone forced to listen to those interruptions).