Convergence journalism: a threat to print journalism?

Lydia Miljan (University of Windsor, Canada)

With the rise of digital technology, concerns have been raised regarding the role of journalists and the quality of information presented. Some of the concerns centre on the decline of the traditional journalist in favour of the blogger or amateur journalist. Other fears centre on the concentration of ownership, in that, while there may be more avenues for dissemination of information, there may be less information provided. For newspapers the demands are greater as there has been a consistent decline in advertising revenue in favour of online editions. Converged corporations – those with newspaper, Internet and/or television holdings – tend to see the solution to these challenges in similar ways: reduce staff, pay less, and have the remaining staffers do more. This paper examines the challenges journalists have always faced when confronted with new technologies that threaten their craft. It looks specifically at how Canadian newspapers have moved to online editions and how this has pressured print journalists to become convergence journalists. Part of the analysis will provide a case study of the Toronto Star , Canada’s largest circulation daily and the first company to put specific language in its collective agreements that defines journalists as “anyone who generates content”. In addition, this paper also provides results from a content analysis of the Toronto Star that compares the online version of the newspaper with the print edition. This paper will explore to what extent the online version provides value-added material or simply is a new way of disseminating the same information. This will help determine how much journalists are complying with the new corporate demands.

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