As 2015 is right upon us it’s time to reflect on what’s happened in the previous year.
2014 has been a tough year for local newspapers; Trinity Mirror Group, one of the UKs most prominent news outlets has shut 7 local newspapers, some of which had been operating for more than 150 years. The decline of print media and the unstoppable rise of web and mobile devices has radically changed the behaviour of how people consume news. The disruption that new technology like the internet can bring, can be a massive challenge for businesses to adapt to, especially with the speed and frequency of change.
The problem here though, is that many proponents for local journalism have stated that a trusted local news source is paramount to a healthy “democratic society”. In fact local MPs have called for an enquiry into the future of local news in the UK for this very reason. But with the fall in print and advertising revenues, how can local journalism make a come back? Some news outlets have opted to stay with free distribution and subscription paywalls as they move over to an online-only presence. Could this be too little too late? only time will tell.
So what does the future hold for the local news industry?
If consumers are now using new forms of digital media to consume news (e.g. iPad, Smartphones etc), then new methods of digital monetisation must be developed to bridge the growing gap between reader & news providers.
Consumers can only stomach so much web advertising, and subscription paywalls have only had marginal success at best. This is where tibdit comes in: tibbing tiny payments/donations to a local journalist for a good article you’ve read or even access to the whole article, in your currency of choice. A tib button at the bottom of any website could act as a virtual tib jar, giving journalists a new method of monetisation and control over their hard work, by not just being reliant on demanding subscription sign-ups or annoying clickbait. A method that makes journalists beholden to their readers and not just to advertisers.
For the tibbees (recipients) this is where Bitcoin comes in; @Walter Issacson, a former Managing Editor of TIME Magazine, @Time.com, has recently written a great article on how Bitcoin can save journalism. We couldn’t agree with him more! We want to give the tools to the writers and readers of the new “digital age” to enable journalists to provide quality content without paywalls and advertising, and for readers to support their local news websites straight from their own mobile devices.
Let’s hope things start to turn around for the local news industry in 2015.
If you know of any local newspapers or journalists who could benefit from @micropayments from their readers, let them know about @tibdit or please get in touch.
Until next time, all the best for the New Year