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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The future of journalism (latest in an endless series)

There's a piece in today's Times about Liverpool's chances of winning the league which is notable not so much for what it says as for the way it chooses to say it. The opinions in it are those of Patrick Barclay, who has the title Chief Football Commentator, but it's based on an interview with Ben Smith, who presumably doesn't have an exalted title but can be relied upon to tee up the great man with a few questions (possibly on the phone from his holiday home) and then write up his responses.

This kind of approach is as much of a straw in the wind blowing through the media as all this talk about pay walls. The Times pay Patrick Barclay for his opinions and the more directly they can access those opinions the better. If they send him off to compose his thoughts it probably takes hours, even if he's quicker than most. If they just stick an apprentice in front of him with a dictaphone it probably takes five minutes and for the end-user the result is exactly the same.