Staff at Fairfax papers around the country have gone on strike this week to protest the proposed cutting of 125 jobs.
Whatever your views politically (Fairfax is a well – known Left – leaning company), I think this is sad. Several things have contributed to the collapse of Fairfax over recent years. One has been financial mismanagement and lack of sales revenue. “The Australian’s” Chris Kenny has said on his show that, unlike Newscorp, they went digital too early and their paper sales collapsed. They also relied heavily on advertisers – such as housing company Domain. This didn’t translate well to the digital world and therefore, their revenue went guts up.
I’ve said this sort of thing a couple of times before – what does this mean for journalists, columnists and even online writers?
See, I’m wondering even more now since I’m doing the Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing. My ultimate goal is to update this blog and make something out of it – sort of like what Mia Freedman did with Mamamia (I can dream can’t I?). But I want to work for someone else first. True, the course covers all writing, not just journalism and commentary, so I could get work in another field – hopefully. But, if I’m honest, I jumped at the chance to do the course when I heard that people can go on to do journalism after the course. The course outline for the Diploma lists journalism as one of the career options. I don’t think I’ll do that though. After I finish what I’m doing now I have to work!
As I pointed out before, ultimately, I’d like to update this blog and do something with it. It’ll take a while for sure, but that’s no guarantee either. I’ve written on another blog about how Wendy Harmer’s “The Hoopla” collapsed by 2015 after only four years.
People have probably heard the huge YouTube boycott controversy by now. I asked about it on a Facebook group whether bloggers who use AdSense for revenue had been affected (AdSense and YouTube are both run by Google). Some people said they had been affected, but not many. To compensate their losses, YouTubers have asked viewers to donate money via PayPal and Patreon. I’ve often thought about, rather than solely relying on advertisers (apparently, AdSense doesn’t pay a whole lot anyway), I’d go through other means like e – books, etc. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Maybe rather than throwing their dreams in the bin entirely, columnists, features writers, independent bloggers and others just need to be more creative if they want to turn their passion into a career like I want to. It’s either that or only have writing as a second job – which to be honest, I was happy doing anyway.
The future is so uncertain for writers now. It’s scary. With the rise of online writing, maybe this will revitalise the industry in the future. Maybe (hopefully) this is a temporary transition from traditional media to digital and journalism can be a robust industry again, just all online.
Are you a writer? How have you been affected by the ever – changing industry, if at all? I’d love to know what you think. Leave your thoughts below.