There’s been redundancies at major newspapers in the UAE this year, one has been sold and now another has announced its closure next month. I predicted the death of print five years ago.
But I’m not gloating, I’m sickened and saddened by it. Especially considering the wider consequences of losing legitimate forms of media and journalism in light of what the alternative appears to be.
And anyway, from the above magazine cover, it’s clear that The Economist predicted it over 10 years ago.
So in 2016 I’ve seen the first hand reality of my prediction – an absolute decimation that exceeds even that I was directly involved with, during my time as Editorial Director of Mens’ Consumer Titles at ITP, here in Dubai during the economic implosion of 2008.
And to be honest, there’s no reason or room to be smug or complacent. Because God only knows where this avalanche will end. Frankly speaking I don’t think this ravenous beast will be sated with print alone. I think it’s coming after websites next.
That leaves only social media and video content. Fortunately we at Motoring Middle East are pretty good at that stuff, but even then, it has to be asked – are our efforts enough?
Leaving that aside, I think it’s pretty clear that deep questions should be asked by big corporations who are ineffectively squandering some of their traditional media ad spends on new experiments… when you hear of vacuous so-called social media celebs being paid over $16,000 to turn up to an event and post one, yes just ONE, Snapchat and Instagram post each, you know something’s gone desperately awry.
But brands, organisations and official authorities should recall who has been supporting them all these many years, who has been highlighting their products and services, who’s been telling the stories worth telling, who’s been getting the messages across, who’s been calling them up on point when they knew they really needed to be, who’s been diligently doing a crucial service for them and the public at the same time – ah yes, that would be the humble hard-working journalist.
That would be us. A rare breed that is now definitely placed on the extinction list.
So to them, the message is, if you still want to have intelligent and useful contributors and participants involved in your messaging – then you really need to make some dramatic and serious moves to outright support the media. Otherwise you’ll be left with the empty-heads flashing their $10,000 smiles in selfies that are the swamps of product placement. The world will get dumber, and it’ll be all your fault.
You know what you must do. We await your call.