For the last five years, I’ve watched the steady loss of news jobs with an uneasy confidence that the decline was temporary.
Common sense told me that news isn’t less popular – all the research shows that people want reliable, well-written coverage of the news more than ever. And in the increasingly complicated world, it seemed logical that quality journalism would be valued even more, not less.
The problem, of course, was that the business model that has sustained journalism jobs for a century was falling apart.
Now, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel - two news organizations with very different backgrounds have announced hiring sprees.
Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, announced that it’s hiring 34 new journalists for its newsroom and digital teams. For a traditional news organization, that’s an impressive commitment to the future of news gathering.
Earlier this year, AOL, the former online giant which now is struggling to find its way, announced that it will hire hundreds of journalists, editors and videographers in the next year, as part of its commitment to creating original news content.
Of course, those are just two bright spots in an otherwise struggling industry. It has been difficult to tell over the last few years how much of the news industry’s struggles had to do with the recession and how much with the Internet. As the economic recovery stalls, it’s still hard to tell.
Everyone agrees that the news industry is in transition, and that digital delivery of news is key to the future.
But will “legacy” news organizations – the newspapers, radio stations, magazines and TV stations we’ve trusted for generations – survive the transition?
Or will they be replaced by start-up Internet companies or digital giants like Yahoo and Google?
Are the Newsday and AOL stories an abberation or a trend?
All good questions without answers at this point.