Circulation brawl a sign of a dying industry
Having written this column for over a year, as a shadow writer, we should shed light on ourselves, media members. The reason for calling ourselves media members, rather than journalists, is because the press or the media as we know it died a long time ago. So most journalists of the old school have gone with it. The new media - not the tech-enabled one - is built on totally different foundations.
The main motive of this week was a discussion in the media that caused the sacking of a columnist in mainstream media. The columnist was a medical professor, writing for a daily newspaper for the last 15 years. He tweeted the actual circulation numbers of daily Hurriyet. The flagship of the Turkish press sells 28,000 copies in Istanbul and a total of 60,000 nationwide, he wrote. Publishing these figures led to his dismissal as a columnist in his newspaper.
The new owners of the media group recently won a betting tender on sports, as its chairman was also heading the Turkish Football Federation. As a sign of “courtesy,” he resigned from his federation post in the same week he sacked the columnist. His move was hailed by his newspapers.
The new media serves the interests of the people in power or its owners. It is neither profit centric, as it was in the past, nor caring to serve the public interest, as all media should be. The grassroots of the journalism have changed a lot. But it has also lost its rational economic sense. Unfortunately, almost no mainstream media has a circulation over 100,000 in Turkey, including daily sports newspapers. Circulations are almost below one-tenth of two decades ago. The single-voice media has lost its battle against technology and versatile reader profile that is seeking different perspectives.
We have seen at least five daily newspapers quit in the last 10 years and expect to see more in the next couple of years, accelerating the death of the new media. As the new media shows strong signs of consolidation, old school journalism however shows signs of a revival in new formats other than print.