I had been planning to write a post today about the exciting new fund for investigative journalism launched by, among others, the Huffington Post (more on that here) but a quick Twitter check a few minutes ago alerted me to the fact that Press Gazette is closing up shop!
This was a jaw-dropping ‘no way!’ moment for me, but sadly the owners, the Wilmington Group, confirmed it with an announcement on the Press Gazette website this morning.
Aside from the fact that it seems the editorial staff weren’t informed beforehand and found out along with everyone else via the website, which is disgraceful and shows a total lack of respect for the staff’s input, I find it truly shocking that they would choose to stop publishing now. Surely this is the very time we need some scrutiny of the media organisations which are making huge layoffs and therefore fundamentally changing the landscape of journalism?
I know there are other similar offerings out there, but Press Gazette was pretty widely respected and as a future journalist, not only do I want a source of information about what’s going on in my chosen industry, but I also want someone forcing media organisations to account for their actions.
Perhaps it’s easy to say this from the comfort of a blog, without any of the commercial concerns that affect a magazine, and I do understand that the business model was in trouble. But my real worry is this: if journalists are giving up on reporting themselves, then isn’t it just a matter of time before they give up on reporting just about anything else?