Future Of Journalism Report
Structure and Ownership of the Media
The Media Industry is becoming larger and larger over many different media sectors including the likes of television, radio, gaming, animation, advertising, marketing and publishing. Media is becoming more a part of our everyday lives and is becoming the norm. It is an industry that is generating lots of money in the world today due to its appeal to modern population.
The main sector that will be focused on in this report is the journalism side of the media. In this section of the media, there are two ways in which the media works. The sides of the media being Public and Private ownership and I will discuss the positives and negatives that both of these possess.
Public Ownership BBC
One of the main examples of Public ownership is the BBC that I will use as an example to discuss this type of ownership. On the website, the BBC claim that their “job is to get the best out of the BBC for license fee payers” which is one of the ways the BBC generates its main source of income by the viewers purchasing their TV licenses hence the reason the BBC is publicly owned. In 2006, the BBC established a partnership with Royal Charter that consists of an agreement by the BBC and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. They state that the purpose is to serve the public interest such as promoting education and learning helping the public benefit from the technology the BBC are providing. The content from a Public organisation is mainly to provide for the customers who pay their license fees and are often noted to create pieces that are more informative and entertain the people watching it. Both Private and Public organisations both share the fact that they want to bring news to the people however Public firms are known to generate more educational news that those of Private ownerships.
The BBC Trust was formed in 2007 and is the governing body of the BBC. The trust is “Led by Acting Chairman Diane Coyle, and consisting of 12 Trustees, the Trust is the guardian of licence fee revenue and of the public interest in the BBC.” To improve the quality of the BBC’s broadcasting, the Trust challenged the BBC to:
. increase the distinctiveness and quality of output;
. improve the value for money provided to licence fee payers;
. set new standards of openness and transparency; and
do more to serve all audiences.
As mentioned before, the BBC is an example of public ownership meaning it is publicly funded so the BBC do not need to take any shareholders or private investors into account. This is in my perception of the media is a bonus in the way they raise their money through initial public offering. The money raised can be used for many things examples such as supporting growth, paying off debt and paying into development and research. Also as a secondary advantage of public ownership is that with their being the funding for more expanding and growing businesses, this offers more jobs to the public helping improve the environment we live in.
Due to a company being publicly owned, it can raise the valuation of a company for a number of reasons. Being publicly owned will lessen the risk and cash flow or debt problems for a company and if the company remains at successful standards the public have better insights into how the company is handled financially. By being publicly owned, you will find that your business will appeal more than a private firm due to the clear finances and clear insight into the future of the business. By being a public firm, you have a day to day valuation of your media company which can be a positive unless the companies valuation is at a poor standard and obviously wont reflect well on the firm which would act as a hindrance. Another positive with public companies is the fact that they can use stock options to their advantage. By offering stock options, as a business it will enable you to attract more highly qualified employees by offering stock options. By offering the stock options, they can be used to motivate a businesses employees which will increase the competitiveness and quality of the media pieces produced. Although private companies to offer stock options, it is more successful in a public organisation as they are much easier to gain money from when publicly traded.
Along with all the positive points of having a public owned media business, there are also negatives which come along with this. A large reason for this would be concerning their financial figures being easily accessible. By being a public firm your finances will be open to competitors and also the companies performers through the annual reports to the SEC. The valuation of your company on the market will be very inconsistent where you may see your valuation higher or lower than its true valuation. From having a public organisation you will receive higher accounting costs because of the requirements through adhering to any financial statements. Financial information will also have to be gathered by staff in formats required during a time schedule. Sometimes public businesses have to run through guidelines which have to be worked with which the business will lose some flexibility with the work they produce however these can act as an advantage to businesses helping the avoid any possible mistakes.
Private ownerships have to fund themselves though advertisements and large parts of this side in the media has come under a lot of scrutiny for a while. A lot of a Private media company are solely trying to satisfy shareholders contrasting to Public organisations aim to produce for the public. Due to the self funding, Private organisations can broadcast much more content than a Public firm and the content they broadcast can be of their own free choice again unlike a Public organisation. The media they produce are often aimed at a specific age category or a certain audience and the adverts are chosen to capitalise on the selected audience mainly to boost their profits. Because of the way private ownerships have to raise their money they need to make sure they are gaining that money from their advertisements to carry on producing their media meaning they are an organisation that needs to draw the biggest audience that they possible can. The more people viewing their content the more money the private companies will receive from their advertisements which is vital to how their company will advance.
Private companies are also known to take their political sides and force their views onto the reader. The following images are of front pages from two of the largest private newspaper organisations Daily Mail and The Guardian who both reported about the London Riots on their front pages.
These two front pages, although not visually blatant, contrast largely in their views towards the London riots in 2011. Starting with the Daily Mail, the main title “The Anarchy Spreads” suggesting that those and perhaps the person in this picture is going against the rules. Their stance to this is truly one sided and as a conservative newspaper have taken a very conservative approach to this headline. Because of this, The Mail will attract an audience who hold similar views to those of The Daily Mail showing how political preferences can show through the production of a newspaper.
On the other end of the spectrum is the front page of The Guardian who are also talking about the London Riots and even has the same picture yet their approaches couldn’t have been more different. This Guardian article headline with the title “Battle for London” immediately setting the tone to their approach to the article. In this headline “The Battle” reflects the papers liberal stance to the situation suggesting that the riots had two sides father than The Mails one sided coverage. Again, their clear political stance will appeal to those who are more liberal who will be drawn to buy The Guardians newspapers due to the share in views and beliefs.
Another example of the ways Private companies work is The Scott Trust which is a sole shareholder in The Guardian. The purpose of the Scott Trust is to help secure the financial sides of The Guardian and help preserve the independence of this media company. The Guardian and Scott Trust work differently to the majority of other Private companies as the profits the organisation produces are put back into the development of the paper to carry on producing without any political or commercial interference showing more of a positive side to Private ownership.
Due to all of the competition between the Private media companies, the content produced can be at a much better quality such as the money needed to fund their pieces. Poor performance in financial departments poses the threat of losing market shares again forcing the companies to produce a high standard of work. Another advantage of Private organisations is because the business does not have any government interference they can pretty much report and write anything the company wants but this has also been seen as a large disadvantage towards Private companies. With the self funding, as mentioned, private companies are free to produce what they want so naturally they produce content which interests the public as this means more money for the company so from a public point of view public media companies will create the stories that they are interested in despite any criticism that a lot of Private content isn’t educational.
Private ownerships are often criticised for putting their financial concerns above the public concern. It is of the opinions of many that the stories these organisations produce are damaging and affecting the population of today such as feminism etc even claims that the “notion of a media powerful enough to shape our self-identities and our views of the world.” This is one of the main concerns of private organisations and has surfaced in the media especially over the last few years. The fact that these stories are making the companies money due to the public demand they feel the need to keep creating these controversial stories to keep up the funding for their media based company. As looked at before, we have seen first hand that the media companies such as the Daily Mail and Guardian can be produced to force their personal/political views to the readers rather than perhaps reporting the truth.
Both Private and Public organisations have their positives and negatives however it has become clear that the Private companies are the more damaging of the two. Mostly the biased content of those from Private firms are manipulating the public and the media companies themselves. We are in a world where Media, in affect, controls our lives and we have become so accustomed to the point where we are taking it in subconsciously. The media world is shaping the way we think and is shaping our personalities and for many in a damaging way. Some of these types of media have links to depression as shown in the next report.
Of the 4142 participants (47.5% female and 67.0% white) who were not depressed at baseline and who underwent follow-up assessment, 308 (7.4%) reported symptoms consistent with depression at follow-up. Controlling for all covariates including baseline Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale score, those reporting more television use had significantly greater odds of developing depression (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.08 [1.01-1.16]) for each additional hour of daily television use. In addition, those reporting more total media exposure had significantly greater odds of developing depression (1.05 [1.0004-1.10]) for each additional hour of daily use. We did not find a consistent relationship between development of depressive symptoms and exposure to videocassettes, computer games, or radio. Compared with young men, young women were less likely to develop depression given the same total media exposure (odds ratio for interaction term, 0.93 [0.88-0.99]).
Television exposure and total media exposure in adolescence are associated with increased odds of depressive symptoms in young adulthood, especially in young men.”
This passage was taken from a report which focused on the links between a person exposure to media and depression. It was taken from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004674/. This was important to include as it shows there is a clear link there which are some of the problems private media companies are posing.
In an ideal world all of our media all of our media would be from Public organisations as they have a more morale approach to the media industry but that would be leaving a large hole to people who do gain positives from the news the Private industries pose. It is a hard situation as private companies fund their own businesses therefore publish what they want which it doesn’t help the growing concerns with in media matters. Although there have been attempts to raise awareness on feminism such as the Miss Representation documentary i watched in college i think more can be done to help us understand the real affects media is having on society. The Miss Representation documentary gives a much larger insight into these concerns and will open people to how corrupt the media is.
The emphasis should be placed in the Public companies as their news is more educational and less harmful but as mentioned before private companies can’t be excluded. I would take any action possible to change the face of the negative sides of the media as they are morally wrong and the sensitive shouldn’t have to put up with some of the content. As a world we are advancing and it seems that some of the papers and headlines being produced in some of todays media aren’t.
One section which should be clamped down upon is the objectifying and creating a fake image of especially image of women in the media. This could be achieved by stopping all photoshopping where images are being manipulated to advertise in the media. These images are almost objectifying mainly women and painting them in a perfect image which isn’t a true representation. Also women should be taken more seriously in the media and the Miss Representation documentary pointed out. Studies found that men were mainly given the roles in movies and when women are chosen they are portrayed as trying to find love. So in conclusion our main source of income of news should come from Public companies but also allow Private companies to contribute to the news due to the high demand but should really consider filtering their content to those which are morally right and have no repercussions on the public.
Press regulation has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years mainly from private firms where investigations have taken place such as the Edward Snowden and Leveson inquiries. In these situations have raised many concerns over the privacy of the public over online activity. The “Inquiry examined the culture, practices and ethics of the press and, in particular, the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians.” The Leveson inquiry also went deeply into the phone hacking scandals which concerned a lot of high profile people such as Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller which is a large invasion of privacy.
Another large case in the phone hacking scandals included the Milly Dowler case where Milly went missing. Her parents were led to believe that their daughter was alive due to phone activity. There was a large uproar from the public when it was uncovered that it was the media company News Of The World who hacked her phone in attempt to sell a story through their paper. The McCans were also affected by The News Of The World when they claimed that a lot of the stories being published in the papers were fabricated and that Kate McCan felt “totally violated” when the news of the world published her secret diary again intruding into their private life.
The Snowen case is another example where the regulation fell short in the media. Edward Snowden is a former National Security Agency contractor who revealed activity from the US intelligence as they were surveilling peoples phones and internet activity. I feel that there is always a fine line between making things public or keeping them as a secret. In many peoples opinion due to respponses, the public should know that their secret information is being looked at and what is secret should be kept that way which is in favour of Snowdon coming out publicly which in a way these people deserve to know.
In an interview Facebook lawyer Ted Ullyot had this to say between any links with Facebok and the NSA:
“As of today, the government will only authorise us to communicate about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range, For the six months ending 31 December 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received was between 9,000 and 10,000, relating to between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts.”
This case brings up the concerns about peoples privacy which backing up many peoples opinion of how the regulation works in media today. Todays media is far too intrusive and goes to much into the private lives of the public and celebrities etc. These stories are created to generate more money through sales but looking through the news you will find that a lot of stories that make up todays papers are delving into the personal lives of others to present a good read and to entertain the public. A lot of the companies are so focused on making money that morales are forgotten which can really affect the lives of individuals or even groups. Media regulation should be very strict and not violate anyones privacy as they shouldn’t have to. A lot of these points made in this report contribute to showing the corrupt side of the media which is mainly coming from the financial and business side of the media as in the Public companies.
One of the main routes in starting a career in journalism is through freelance. By being a freelance journalist you are self employed with no commitment to any employer. To help advance into freelance you can take courses such as the BBC offering training courses to help Freelance journalists to help give journalists experience in a journalistic field. Below is an example of one of the training schemes the BBC are offering.
“Research may involve finding, and contacting individuals and organisations as well as finding locations for filming, and making a preliminary selection of suitable material and music. Researchers could also find themselves doing anything and everything to keep a production moving smoothly. Some researchers will also be able to self shoot, script and direct. Sometimes they will have a specialism, for example a science or history background.”
With the college, we went and had a meeting with David Parrish who is a “specialist creative industries management consultant, business advisor, coach, mentor, trainer, speaker and writer, working internationally.” He talked at length about the opportunities people in the media field have when starting out in journalism mainly being through freelance routes. Aspiring journalists have the option to start their own business on the growing internet and should attempt to grow their company through online presence. Currently and even more so in the future, the expanding internet will be one of the main tools for a journalist in the future and is one of the easiest way to share and sell your work. David. Parrish also stressed that contacts are very important in business today which will help accelerate your progress.
Sometimes when deciding to enter a journalism career path it is worth considering what jobs may grow in the future and the opposite meaning the jobs in journalism which may fade out. Digital reporting is a section of journalism which is currently growing and will continue to grow into the future. The Huffington Post is an exempt of this which i becoming more and more popular and growing in the last few years. Like stated before, the media is becoming more and more online based and the internet is a large part of our lives so jobs inside the media will certainly grow in the future. The app market is becoming a very popular place to receive news and it is predicted that the websites for these media companies will be more in demand of employees to help boost their work online
On the opposite side to this are the jobs which may disappear are the printing jobs due to the advancements in online presence in journalism. Many would predict that newspapers will eventually disappear as it is so easy to get the news from the internet for free. We have seen this happen to our newspapers today and even the likes of Kindle and Ipads etc. have eased the need to go out and buy books.
Although it is exceptionally hard to turn your self employed business into a big organisation, the links to having a journalistic career are achievable with the right advice and guidance. Large companies offer training schemes like the BBC and offer help on their sites for aspiring journalists. However all the evidence of this seems to be at a younger level such as universities and colleges which may work out hard for more older people trying to get into journalism. So perhaps more advice could be given due to the challenges that the freelance industry produces which can make people struggle trying to break into the industry.