Deconstructing Digitization: Journalism and Advertising in the Digital Age

Our society is in the midst of a cultural shift. As more and more consumers begin to live their lives outside of the geographical confines of the real world, it has become apparent to advertisers and journalists that the traditional methods of reaching potential consumers and readers are no longer working. Brian Stelter attempts to explain this phenomenon in his New York Times article, “For Journalists, A Call to Rethink Their Online Models.”
The article begins by problematizing the current relationship between journalists and advertisers. Stelter makes it a point to say that journalism should in no way be compromised by its need for traditional methods of advertisement, but that the profession needs to better understand the cultural shift as we go from print to more digital outlets.
Along with this idea, Stelter suggests that there are ways that journalists may be able to bring back those advertising dollars or at least be able to keep up in the ever-evolving market. Still, throughout most of the article, Stelter, as well as commentators such as Randall Rothenberg, who is deeply involved in advertising as well as journalism, states “Journalists just don’t understand their business” (Stelter 6).
The issue of journalism in a capitalistic society isn’t merely in relation to the writers themselves but to the advertisers as well. The article makes mention of the difficulty advertisers are having in an increasingly digital world. In the print world, the ads seemingly have a different purpose. This is an idea that is never elaborated on, but it is understood that readers pay a good deal of attention to print ads.
However, Stelter makes certain that readers are aware that there are a few success stories about advertising in the digital age. He mentions the success of which, due largely in part to the online classified ads, has reached staggeringly high numbers of page views. Unlike many traditional news organizations, has managed to make up a great deal of their viewership from their classified section, which caters to a very specific community with its largely Mormon readership.
Returning to the more commonly understood approach to advertising, Stelter also talks about success in re-vamping the traditional advertising model to embrace the digitization of society. One such example was the Dallas Morning News, which has created a package deal for its advertisers, which veers away from the traditional method of payment per views. These types of methods seem to be the wave of the future for advertisers and journalists, but it is unclear as to whether they will catch on or not.
Finally, the article warns that changes in online viewership won’t happen overnight. They suggest that the truly rising market can be found with mobile access to news content. Regardless of whether journalists and advertisers find themselves in a more computer-oriented market or a mobile one, Stelter makes perfectly clear that the traditional method of print journalism and advertising is seeing an enormous shift which journalists are going to have to try to compensate for if they hope to survive the digitization of American culture.


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