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RL Journalism, a weak link?

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22 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

Props to Matt for righting a wrong ?

My major beef is that there are national outlets who don’t seem to realise what they’ve got.

For example, today’s No Helmets Required blog on the Guardian website is another cross-code effort.

I think that’s a bit of an insult, frankly. It’s not like union doesn’t get enough national coverage. 

That blog could be used to discuss the type of things mentioned in this thread, i.e. questioning officials, decisions and holding the game to account (like the NRL writers do on there), but Gavin Willacy seems more interested in somewhat obscure, trivial stuff. Ho hum.

  I like what Gavin Willacy writes.

  He doesn't do match reports - but does a lot of background work for our sport - and I found it interesting a report about a referee I have seen - and it would be good to see more referees do the hard yards from other sports and come into rugby league.

  With reference to journalism - if they view things from a supporters viewpoint - then I would like them to continue gaining information and reporting it.

   Those clubs,say Widnes and Bradford, have had a situation where they have put money into the club which has resulted in club officials/owners walking off into the sunset.The clubs are left in financial difficulty.End of news.Some update would be nice.Has it been a case of dishonesty or incompetence?  How does the governing body intend preventing a reoccurrence?

   Has the question been asked about whether or not a particular referee is permitted to referee again when a certain club plays? I ask because Mr Hicks should officiate another St Helens game.The question should be put to either,the club,the referee or the governing body.

   What is the governing body doing about Odsal ?  I could go on...

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27 minutes ago, Angelic Cynic said:

  I like what Gavin Willacy writes.

  He doesn't do match reports - but does a lot of background work for our sport - and I found it interesting a report about a referee I have seen - and it would be good to see more referees do the hard yards from other sports and come into rugby league.

  With reference to journalism - if they view things from a supporters viewpoint - then I would like them to continue gaining information and reporting it.

   Those clubs,say Widnes and Bradford, have had a situation where they have put money into the club which has resulted in club officials/owners walking off into the sunset.The clubs are left in financial difficulty.End of news.Some update would be nice.Has it been a case of dishonesty or incompetence?  How does the governing body intend preventing a reoccurrence?

   Has the question been asked about whether or not a particular referee is permitted to referee again when a certain club plays? I ask because Mr Hicks should officiate another St Helens game.The question should be put to either,the club,the referee or the governing body.

   What is the governing body doing about Odsal ?  I could go on...

Yes and this is precisely the type of reportage almost entirely absent from British RL journalism, especially national coverage. 

Gavin Willacy writes Quite Interesting stuff. He’s good at bringing obscure things to light but it’s more suited to features in magazines like Forty-20 in my view. I’m keener to read more critical, questioning and investigative stories about the British game in the Guardian pages than cross-code curiosities.

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19 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Yes and this is precisely the type of reportage almost entirely absent from British RL journalism, especially national coverage. 

Gavin Willacy writes Quite Interesting stuff. He’s good at bringing obscure things to light but it’s more suited to features in magazines like Forty-20 in my view. I’m keener to read more critical, questioning and investigative stories about the British game in the Guardian pages than cross-code curiosities.

Investigative journalism costs a lot of money, not least because of its very nature, it takes a lot of time to research, cross-check, and be legally sound before publishing, as well as a great deal of journalistic talent to make it interesting.

We already live in an age where fewer and fewer people are willing to pay anything at all to read a newspaper, a magazine or least of all online content and will complain vociferously at being asked to pay a pound or two to read a story that may have cost thousands to produce (without much of that going into the journalist's pocket), because 'they can get it free elsewhere'. (No, you can't).

I think we'd all love to see great, in-depth, investigative stories in the media (and not just about Rugby League), but without readers willing to pay to read it, where does the money come from to invest in it?

Please don't say advertising, especially not now, when the pandemic has virtually killed that off as a meaningful source of revenue.

It has never been truer to say 'you get what you pay for'.

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RL journalists have faults but they are one of the strengths of the sport mostly because when we were let down and ignored by the laughably termed "national" papers they created a world of our own where we could read what they wrote and include them in the list of things to be disagreeable about, convince ourselves they're as wrong as refs, as questionable as the RFL & as villainous as opposition players.

What more could we ask?

Actually I think that might be a good post to finish completely.

 

Edited by Oxford
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RL1.JPG.6a10be03c5528650e188f078de012540.JPG

 

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10 minutes ago, John Drake said:

We already live in an age where fewer and fewer people are willing to pay anything at all to read a newspaper, a magazine or least of all online content and will complain vociferously at being asked to pay a pound or two to read a story that may have cost thousands to produce (without much of that going into the journalist's pocket), because 'they can get it free elsewhere'. (No, you can't).

It has never been truer to say 'you get what you pay for'.

Yes, it's becoming the way of the world in general.   "Owt fur nowt" ...  yet those same people then moan about the quality they are getting.

I used to work in a place which sold high quality merchandise yet people would come in and say "we can get it cheaper at ........".  So, we would say, "OK, go there for it."  However, what the other place was selling was of far less quality and would need replacing far sooner than what we were selling.

Edited by RL does what Sky says

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15 minutes ago, John Drake said:

We already live in an age where fewer and fewer people are willing to pay anything at all to read a newspaper, a magazine or least of all online content and will complain vociferously at being asked to pay a pound or two to read a story that may have cost thousands to produce (without much of that going into the journalist's pocket), because 'they can get it free elsewhere'. (No, you can't).

I think we'd all love to see great, in-depth, investigative stories in the media (and not just about Rugby League), but without readers willing to pay to read it, where does the money come from to invest in it?

Please don't say advertising, especially not now, when the pandemic has virtually killed that off as a meaningful source of revenue.

It has never been truer to say 'you get what you pay for'.

 

10 minutes ago, RL does what Sky says said:

Yes, it's becoming the way of the world in general.   "Owt fur nowt" ...  yet those same people then moan about the quality they are getting.

Well, just for the record, I subscribe to League Express, League Weekly, Rugby League World and Forty-20 so you can’t accuse me of not putting my hand in my pocket to support British RL journalism!

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1 minute ago, Man of Kent said:

Well, just for the record, I subscribe to League Express, League Weekly, Rugby League World and Forty-20 so you can’t accuse me of not putting my hand in my pocket to support British RL journalism!

And I have done so since edition 1 of "Open Rugby" ... and the "Rugby Leaguer" for many years before.

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21 minutes ago, John Drake said:

Investigative journalism costs a lot of money, not least because of its very nature, it takes a lot of time to research, cross-check, and be legally sound before publishing, as well as a great deal of journalistic talent to make it interesting.

We already live in an age where fewer and fewer people are willing to pay anything at all to read a newspaper, a magazine or least of all online content and will complain vociferously at being asked to pay a pound or two to read a story that may have cost thousands to produce (without much of that going into the journalist's pocket), because 'they can get it free elsewhere'. (No, you can't).

I think we'd all love to see great, in-depth, investigative stories in the media (and not just about Rugby League), but without readers willing to pay to read it, where does the money come from to invest in it?

Please don't say advertising, especially not now, when the pandemic has virtually killed that off as a meaningful source of revenue.

It has never been truer to say 'you get what you pay for'.

Jon Ruskin. " When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done.  

JohnM "something free is worth every penny you've paid" 

The BBC News app now has a section "longer reads" for those who have a span of attention of more than one sentence. 


Four legs good - two legs bad

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1 hour ago, RL does what Sky says said:

And I have done so since edition 1 of "Open Rugby" ... and the "Rugby Leaguer" for many years before.

Good man.

Anyway, isn’t it a bit of cop out if publishers essentially blame their readers (or lack of them) for the quality (or lack of it) of their output?

Edited by Man of Kent
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51 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Yes and this is precisely the type of reportage almost entirely absent from British RL journalism, especially national coverage. 

Gavin Willacy writes Quite Interesting stuff. He’s good at bringing obscure things to light but it’s more suited to features in magazines like Forty-20 in my view. I’m keener to read more critical, questioning and investigative stories about the British game in the Guardian pages than cross-code curiosities.

For the Grauniad, Gavin Willacy usually digs up obscure nuggets and left-field observations. Aaron Bower does the more regular mainstream coverage. Which other national newspapers have two people covering our sport on a regular basis?

Then there's the regular and copious NRL content coming from their Australian operation; another thing that the other nationals don't even bother to try and match.


"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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1 hour ago, John Drake said:

Investigative journalism costs a lot of money, not least because of its very nature, it takes a lot of time to research, cross-check, and be legally sound before publishing, as well as a great deal of journalistic talent to make it interesting.

We already live in an age where fewer and fewer people are willing to pay anything at all to read a newspaper, a magazine or least of all online content and will complain vociferously at being asked to pay a pound or two to read a story that may have cost thousands to produce (without much of that going into the journalist's pocket), because 'they can get it free elsewhere'. (No, you can't).

I think we'd all love to see great, in-depth, investigative stories in the media (and not just about Rugby League), but without readers willing to pay to read it, where does the money come from to invest in it?

Please don't say advertising, especially not now, when the pandemic has virtually killed that off as a meaningful source of revenue.

It has never been truer to say 'you get what you pay for'.

OK, so I actually work as an investigative journalist and just wanted to echo what JD has said here. Some of my stories take several months to deliver; the cost of the legal advice alone would head comfortably into four figures on most of them. I work for a major news organisation and feel very lucky to have my job - my company employs around 400-odd journalists, but there's only about ten doing my kind of work because it is so costly. The prospect of a sports journalism outlet being able to run and fund such an operation is impossible, esp given most mainstream media doesn't bother any more. So I suppose I am saying give these guys a break!

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34 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

For the Grauniad, Gavin Willacy usually digs up obscure nuggets and left-field observations. Aaron Bower does the more regular mainstream coverage. Which other national newspapers have two people covering our sport on a regular basis?

Then there's the regular and copious NRL content coming from their Australian operation; another thing that the other nationals don't even bother to try and match.

It might be interesting how these guys make a living, given the poor sales of the Guardian and their begging bowl approach to their on-line edition. 

I expect, though I can't prove it, that most LE readers want game news, club news, match previews and reviews, expansion, punditry etc. more than they want to read about someone searching out existential-threatening skeletons in the small cupboards of our relatively small sport in the UK. 

I mean, we are not talking of the Post Office /Horizon situation, or even the Crypto Queen scandal where thousands of people have lost millions and lost their freedom. 

Yes, the saga of Nigel Woods compensation,  the goings on at Bradford over the years, are all issues for investigation, but there has to be a solid and sustainable business to support that. 

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40 minutes ago, Bondi Cannon said:

OK, so I actually work as an investigative journalist and just wanted to echo what JD has said here. Some of my stories take several months to deliver; the cost of the legal advice alone would head comfortably into four figures on most of them. I work for a major news organisation and feel very lucky to have my job - my company employs around 400-odd journalists, but there's only about ten doing my kind of work because it is so costly. The prospect of a sports journalism outlet being able to run and fund such an operation is impossible, esp given most mainstream media doesn't bother any more. So I suppose I am saying give these guys a break!

That’s nice ‘n’ all but I’m not talking about Panama Papers, Wikileaks, Sunday Times Insight or Private Eye etc etc level of investigation. 

Let’s take a look at a hot topic of the day. The government emergency loan. A big deal for British rugby league, I’m sure we all agree. Unprecedented etc.

What are the terms? When does it have to be paid back? Is it a £16m lump sum paid to the RFL or do clubs have to apply individually to the government? Who has applied? Are there any strings attached? Can the RFL use it themselves?   

As far as I’m aware, none of this is public knowledge via the press even though it’s public money. 

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2 hours ago, Bondi Cannon said:

OK, so I actually work as an investigative journalist and just wanted to echo what JD has said here. Some of my stories take several months to deliver; the cost of the legal advice alone would head comfortably into four figures on most of them. I work for a major news organisation and feel very lucky to have my job - my company employs around 400-odd journalists, but there's only about ten doing my kind of work because it is so costly. The prospect of a sports journalism outlet being able to run and fund such an operation is impossible, esp given most mainstream media doesn't bother any more. So I suppose I am saying give these guys a break!

I for one appreciate the work put into a good story. The ones that irritate me are those reporters who, as I mentioned in an earlier post, just piece together bits of old news and rewite them as though it is a scoop. (The same on TV ... I'm a Morecambe and Wise fan yet I get fed up with programmes such as "The Best of M&W", "M&W at Christmas", etc .. just a revamped version of the same programme showing the same footage).

Again, as I wrote earlier on this thread, there was a piece in "Love Rugby League" which stated it was the top one-club list of players, yet it actually appaered to be just be that reporter's own memories of certain players without having researched to see who the best of al time actually were. I could easily have written such a piece if I didn't have to bother about accuracy ... that was just poor journalism.  The piece was actually from about three years ago and that I just came across when looking through the internet but it confirmed my reason for not bothering to subscribe to such a publication.

Alternatively, and also as I stated earlier on here, I bought the very first ever edition of "Open Rugby" and have been doing so (in all it's forms) every since ... I doubt you need to wonder why.

open.jpg.00b0ba2848edb72318da08c6da3b41bb.jpg  "Open Rugby"   Issue no.1     May 1976

 

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8 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

That’s nice ‘n’ all but I’m not talking about Panama Papers, Wikileaks, Sunday Times Insight or Private Eye etc etc level of investigation. 

Let’s take a look at a hot topic of the day. The government emergency loan. A big deal for British rugby league, I’m sure we all agree. Unprecedented etc.

What are the terms? When does it have to be paid back? Is it a £16m lump sum paid to the RFL or do clubs have to apply individually to the government? Who has applied? Are there any strings attached? Can the RFL use it themselves?   

As far as I’m aware, none of this is public knowledge via the press even though it’s public money. 

It's not the hot topic of the day. 

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13 minutes ago, JohnM said:

It's not the hot topic of the day. 

Haven’t you heard? There’s a nasty bug going around that’s closed all the shops (mostly) ?

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The terms of the emergency loan to the RFL are not the first things on the minds of normal fans. 


Four legs good - two legs bad

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It would have been nice to have some transparency on costs.

Whatever newspaper and magazine prices were,it was printed on the front of the production and paid on purchase.

I was under the impression,apparently incorrectly,that the number of 'clicks' for online stuff was the equivalent of the cash paid price.

If the fact of the matter is that what is read online also funds the journalists then perhaps some information and desired payment,up front,can be printed out.Perhaps starting on the 1st of a month.

It all seems very haphazard and ad hoc to a technophobe like myself who never has been a follower of fashion.I think this Luddite attitude exists in others,and unless we are given the necessary information may never change. 

  Some of us also prefer to pay in English money,not dollars.


     No reserves,but resilience,persistence and determination are omnipotent.                       

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13 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

Good man.

Anyway, isn’t it a bit of cop out if publishers essentially blame their readers (or lack of them) for the quality (or lack of it) of their output?

I wasn't attempting a cop out at all in my earlier post, just explaining the reality of the news/publishing industry in the age of the internet.

Fewer people pay to read news these days, no matter what format it is presented in. There will be loads of different reasons why that is the case, but it is still an inescapable fact.

That means publishers have to cut costs or face going out of business completely.

It means fewer journalists, fewer photographers, fewer pages, less to spend on legal advice which means fewer risks will be taken in what is published, less promotional activity, sometimes whole titles closed down to safeguard others for a little while longer, and the further those things are cut, the harder it is to protect the overall quality of the end product.

If anyone has a solution to reverse this trend, there will be a lot of publishers queuing up for it.


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2 hours ago, Angelic Cynic said:

It would have been nice to have some transparency on costs.

Whatever newspaper and magazine prices were,it was printed on the front of the production and paid on purchase.

I was under the impression,apparently incorrectly,that the number of 'clicks' for online stuff was the equivalent of the cash paid price.

If the fact of the matter is that what is read online also funds the journalists then perhaps some information and desired payment,up front,can be printed out.Perhaps starting on the 1st of a month.

It all seems very haphazard and ad hoc to a technophobe like myself who never has been a follower of fashion.I think this Luddite attitude exists in others,and unless we are given the necessary information may never change. 

  Some of us also prefer to pay in English money,not dollars.

A 'click' on its own generates zero revenue to a publisher. The reader gets their content 'free' but the publisher receives nothing in return. It's an unsustainable model for publishers who pay journalists to create content.

A click on an online advert might generate a few pennies, but you need tens of thousands of ad clicks to begin to get anywhere near the kind of revenue a paid-for ad in a print publication, added to the cover price of the print publication would once have generated.

A paywall, whereby a website can restrict access to some or all of its content, in exchange for an upfront payment from the customer, is one way of generating revenue online, and we have introduced this system on TotalRL.com this year, to allow us to publish content that would once have been available only in the print edition of League Express/Rugby League World, online too. Not all of our content is behind the paywall, and we allow people to read two 'premium' pieces a week for free, before prompting the reader to subscribe via the paywall.

It costs £1.50 per week, or a fiver a month, for unlimited access to all the content we publish on TotalRL.com.

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2 hours ago, John Drake said:

A 'click' on its own generates zero revenue to a publisher. The reader gets their content 'free' but the publisher receives nothing in return. It's an unsustainable model for publishers who pay journalists to create content.

A click on an online advert might generate a few pennies, but you need tens of thousands of ad clicks to begin to get anywhere near the kind of revenue a paid-for ad in a print publication, added to the cover price of the print publication would once have generated.

A paywall, whereby a website can restrict access to some or all of its content, in exchange for an upfront payment from the customer, is one way of generating revenue online, and we have introduced this system on TotalRL.com this year, to allow us to publish content that would once have been available only in the print edition of League Express/Rugby League World, online too. Not all of our content is behind the paywall, and we allow people to read two 'premium' pieces a week for free, before prompting the reader to subscribe via the paywall.

It costs £1.50 per week, or a fiver a month, for unlimited access to all the content we publish on TotalRL.com.

Each to their own and I know it would be cheaper to do it all online but I am still one of those who prefers to read it while relaxing on a chair with as cuppa rather than sat looking at a screen. I just feel that when looking online it is too easy to just scroll through things and therefore I might miss a good article. However, as long as the money is going in the coffers.

Edited by RL does what Sky says

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4 hours ago, John Drake said:

I wasn't attempting a cop out at all in my earlier post, just explaining the reality of the news/publishing industry in the age of the internet.

Fewer people pay to read news these days, no matter what format it is presented in. There will be loads of different reasons why that is the case, but it is still an inescapable fact.

That means publishers have to cut costs or face going out of business completely.

It means fewer journalists, fewer photographers, fewer pages, less to spend on legal advice which means fewer risks will be taken in what is published, less promotional activity, sometimes whole titles closed down to safeguard others for a little while longer, and the further those things are cut, the harder it is to protect the overall quality of the end product.

If anyone has a solution to reverse this trend, there will be a lot of publishers queuing up for it.

The more-expensive-to-produce investigative stories tend to be about off-field dirt. My guess is that most RL fans are more interested in the type of on-field-related content which, unless I`m missing something, only requires the journalists` personal knowledge and a modest amount of research to produce.

Absolutely true that once something is free it fosters a sense of entitlement, but there remain a lot of people who are happy to pay but don`t fully trust a virtual system of payment.

Edited by unapologetic pedant

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