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Get Ready For ‘Replacement Journalism’

Journalism hiring is picking up. Anyone can see that. But the hiring that’s going on isn’t for jobs that are the same as the ones lost.

Ken Doctor examines this phenomenon in his weekly column for Nieman Lab. It is, as always, a very good read.

The main question: “Are we beginning to see significant, tangible news coverage in this new, mainly digital world?”

Doctor examines a number of metrics with some very good estimates. For example, are the hirings at ProPublica and elsewhere making up for the investigative jobs cut at newspapers? Doctor calculates that the investigative print world lost “in the high hundreds” of jobs while investigative hiring has been “in the low hundreds.”

In the capitol, the loss has been significant but a number of organizations including Bloomberg Government and National Journal have stepped up to fill the void. The question here is whether the reporting will be for the public or hidden behind a paywall.

Hyperlocal, thanks mainly to Patch which is adding sites faster than we can keep track of them, is “one of the most promising areas in replacement journalism,” says Doctor.

This is a very optimistic picture of journalism—not just media but real hard-hitting reporting—but we can’t find any quibble with Doctor’s figures. Perhaps we’re not all as doomed as we thought.

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