Apple’s new subscription news service, Apple News Plus, was announced in March. But some people in the media publishing industry see that this move is one more indicator that news curation is replacing real journalism.
Why It Matters:
Blockchain Mark consultant Michael K. Spencer says that Apple News is the most concerning big tech announcement in years for journalists. “Censorship is already on the rise in Media and Big Tech has created an environment where free journalism and widely read op-eds no longer exist,” Spencer wrote in a piece at Medium.
While Spencer acknowledges that the old models of journalism don’t work in today’s publishing world, and is grateful that companies like Apple are coming up with new formulas, he is concerned about the “cannibalization” of news media that such curation models employ.
Just as Facebook’s algorithms hurt publisher traffic, Apple News Plus may continue to deteriorate authentic journalism, leaving its future in the evolution of apps, rather than reporters, editors, and publishers. In this model, algorithms will control too much of the flow of information, Spencer says.
Apple is pitching its new subscription service as a solution to publishing industry woes, but its logic is flawed. Just as Facebook hurt the audiences for media publishers — without conducting itself as a true media provider — Apple News Plus may also hurt rather than help journalism.
Taking a look at the publishers that are joining the service indicates that some of the biggest media companies understand the dangers and are not signing up. The rise of paywalls is one of today’s biggest shifts for publishers, and those like The New York Times, which have successfully implemented a paywall, understand this.
The Bottom Line:
“When you become dependent upon a curation network for distribution, you are essentially at their mercy,” Spencer wrote. “ From LinkedIn to Medium, News and access to publishers, writers and articles have shifted to an algorithm based human editor partnership, where curation matters more than direct consumption. This as of 2019, could be one of the most significant trends of the future of journalism on the internet moving forwards.”