Confirmation today that The Herald is adopting a format more in keeping with its content, and going tabloid. Naturally they try and spin this as a Good Thing:
New look Herald smaller and bigger
The New Zealand Herald will undergo the biggest transformation in its 150-year history, with confirmation today that the weekday newspaper is moving to compact format.
The format change in September will coincide with a redesign of the award-winning nzherald.co.nz website and will modernise New Zealand’s biggest newspaper to further meet the needs of readers.
As well as the change in size – making it easier and more convenient for readers – the new-look Monday-Friday paper will have more columnists, new pages and sections and a reinforced focus on investigative journalism.
This is, of course, just another small example of the (in historical terms) very swift restructuring of the media that has been triggered by the Internet. The readership of print media is falling, they need to cut their costs during the transition to a purely online presence.
I can’t remember the last time I read a printed newspaper. I don’t care at all what format the printed version of The Herald takes. But I do care very deeply about journalism. And among the Herald spin quoted above I find the last line, “a reinforced focus on investigative journalism”, to be particularly vacuous. There is still some good journalism out there of course, but far too little. All the market forces in the media are working against good journalism. Staff are being cut, decision making and editorial policy are being centralised, and ever more controlled.
You only need to look at the Fairfax ructions in Australia to see the future. The future of content is all online and pay-walls. The future of editorial policy will be brought and paid for by the rich. The future of journalism is Fox News.