Im Herbst 2012 veröffentlichte eine Forscher-Gruppe um den Journalismus-Professor Clay Shirky einen viel beachteten Text mit dem Titel «Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present». Darin werden die inhaltlichen und ökonomischen Probleme der Medienbranche sehr detailliert aufgezeigt – die Lektüre sei jedem ans Herz gelegt, der sich für die Zukunft des Journalismus interessiert. Wer keine Zeit/Lust auf den knapp 100 Seiten langen Text hat, sollte sich dieses Interview mit Shirky zu Gemüte führen, in dem die wichtigsten Ideen des Textes diskutiert und einige weiter führende Gedanken gesponnen werden. Kleiner Auszug:
There’s no question that the market can never supply as much journalism as democracy demands. We happened to have found a subsidy that worked well for several decades – it worked so well that journalists convinced themselves that it wasn’t a subsidy – but to be frank, advertisers don’t care about whether their money keeps the Washington Bureau open. They wanted full-page ads, and publishers happened to offer a convenient way of doing that. The great thing about the ad model was that advertisers barely ever cared about the news. Every now and again you’d do something that they didn’t like, but in 99 percent of cases, the logic was: ‘Just print the pizza ad right side up and I don’t care what’s printed next to it.’ But to get back to the Scientology ad: Clearly that was a mistake by “The Atlantic”. But the really unforgivable part of that behavior was when they censored user comments. You could have said: ‘Look, advertisers can now publish on the same platform, just as on TV or on radio.’ What you cannot do is give advertisers the right to censor subscribers and users. That was a huge, catastrophic breach of the Chinese Wall between editors and advertisers. But even with that catastrophic choice, you cannot say that advertorials are always bad. If the ACLU – in some alternative universe – had wanted to run sponsored content or advertorials, nobody would have blinked.