Online media business models will succeed only if news organisations put more effort into regaining public trust, says Pacific Journalism Review in its latest edition.
In an issue devoted to the Leveson inquiry into Britain’s News of the World phone hacking scandal and the Finkelstein and Convergence reports on the Australian news industry, the research journal has questioned the “increasingly desperate” search for a business model.
“Is the new model the only answer to the current plight of journalism?” writes edition editor Dr Johan Lidberg from Monash University in Melbourne.
“Are media proprietors paying enough attention to the fact that the business model is built on the public trusting the journalistic practices that sit at the heart of the media brands?”
It is as important to retain public trust in journalism and to rebuild lost trust as the quest to make online journalism pay, Lidberg writes.
“Indeed, without, or with low, public trust in news media, will online journalism ever pay enough to sustain quality journalism?” he asks.
One important tool to retain and rebuild trust in any professional practice is openness and accountability.