Information rules (Part 10: Reimagining the news industry for an information society)

Information rules (Part 10: Reimagining the news industry for an information society)

Phuah Eng Chye (13 March 2021)

It is widely acknowledged the news industry, particularly print-based journalism, is in need of reinvention. Jane Elizabeth notes “as social media grew as a platform and even sometimes a source for breaking news, journalists began to wonder what it might mean for journalism. Newsroom managers were treading slowly, creating guidelines and restrictions for a medium that was designed to be unrestricted. When it comes to Twittering for The Post, our senior editors should know beforehand if a reporter plans to Twitter or otherwise live-blog something she is covering…Some print-focused newsrooms argued that posting information to social media before it was published in the newspaper was scooping ourselves”.

“Today, much has changed. Publications can see from analytics how much traffic is coming through social media. Journalists make up a major component of Twitter users. Some newsrooms have required social media quotas from reporters. And news publishers are facing other issues spawned and cultivated by modern social media: the proliferation of misinformation and fake news, and its role in the decline of trust in professional media. But…social media teams, on the front lines of both issues, still are largely doing what they’ve done for a decade…there is still much progress to be made – in using social platforms as tools to understand communities and to bring audiences into news creation”.

Jane Elizabeth notes the difficulties in adjusting. “Too many reporters are used to doing traditional journalism and like to stay in that routine…Respondents also cited top management as roadblocks…to social media innovation and success”. “A social media team that isn’t structured to hear and respond to audiences is not only an impediment to top-quality journalism, it’s a business problem too. Social media has been a life raft to newsrooms struggling to reach new audiences in an increasingly news-soaked society. But what happens when those platforms are corrupted and co-opted by misinformation? Content created by professional newsrooms also become untrustworthy. And newsrooms that are seen as irrelevant will find it tough to survive”.

Newspaper firms, along with others in the publishing industry (printing, publishing, distribution and retailing), have struggled to cope with the changing environment. Traditional firms are generally held back by their production and logistically-minded organisational structures, culture and skill sets. Frances Cairncross observes “most newspapers have lacked the skills and resources to make good use of data on their readers”. Emily Bell[1] notes “we can all romanticize local papers and what they did, but we all know what the problems were. Huge amounts of cost attached to things that didn’t really need doing by human beings, lots of wasted kind of resources, often a kind of disconnect between the sort of newsrooms and the communities they cover”.

Leonard Witt notes “the message that the mainstream media might well be a victim of disruptive technologies was finally being heard loudly and clearly by late 2005”. One response was to experiment in “open source, citizen journalism”.  However, success[2] was few and fleeting and acted as a reminder as to “how hard it is to reinvent journalism”. Leonard Witt argues the poor showing was predictable. Open-source, commons–based, citizen, participatory or peer journalism was vulnerable to “malicious[3] or incompetent contributions”. “Questions of how open and how free a news entity will be are at the very heart of reinventing journalism”.

Ari Paul highlights the emergence of websites such as Substack, “where writers sell content directly to their readers, untethered from any editorial constraint” have been welcomed as an alternative to the “traditional news outlets” or “establishment press”.

He points out that nonetheless “individuals on Substack can hardly recreate the institutional power needed to create a fully functioning newsroom; will Substack audiences also start paying the salaries of needed behind-the-scenes staff, like researchers, producers and translators? The medium is a great way for pundits who can’t find a home for their columns to get their words out there, but today’s journalism isn’t short on hot takes; its problem is a dearth of full-time foreign correspondents and long-term investigative units”. In this regard, some believe “journalism requires the vast world of factcheckers, editors and institutional discipline for good reporters to produce good journalism”.

In 2010, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a report “Potential policy recommendations to support the reinvention of journalism”. It highlighted its “concern that experimentation may not produce a robust and sustainable business model for commercial journalism. History in the United States shows that readers of the news have never paid anywhere close to the full cost of providing the news. Rather, journalism always has been subsidized to a large extent by, for example, the federal government, political parties, or advertising.”

Among the FTC’s proposals were: to expand copyright protections for the news (which some consider the forerunner of recently adopted Australian legislation)[4], government grants and tax incentives. It also included funding proposals via taxes on broadcast spectrum, consumer electronics, spectrum auctions advertising and ISP-cell phones. The FTC noted these proposals should be assessed on how well it would “address emerging gaps in news coverage”, its cost and feasibility, its ability to “contribute to more and better journalism” and whether there are unintended consequences including “creating bias – in terms of news platforms or government interference”.

Thus, the reinventing of the news industry has been extensively discussed. It’s just that there are no new leads. Hence, the larger question remains – if traditional journalism is no longer viable, does it make sense for governments to intervene to force platforms to “compel search and social media platforms to pay news organizations for linking to their content”. Justin Hendrix notes that the recent Australian legislation[5] are being “considered by lawmakers and regulators in multiple other governments”. Currently, “Google has decided to comply with the law and is doing deals with major companies such as News Corp, Nine, and Seven West Media” while Facebook, after initially blocking Australian users from accessing and sharing news, appears to have relented after reaching a compromise. “We’ll get to see how it works out, and whether opponents’ concerns bear out – if larger news organizations are privileged over small ones, for instance, or whether the money actually ends up being spent on producing more journalism”.

My perspective is that the decline of the traditional newspaper industry is brought about by information disruption – organisational changes brought about by the search for more efficient ways to produce, distribute, consume and monetise information. As a result, we are descending into the information disorder[6] of the information society. The features of the news ecosystem are continually being reshaped. The rising dominance of pull content[7] over push content reflects the falling independence, objectivity and quality of content. The consolidation of mainstream media is increasing ownership concentration and reducing content diversity. Aggressive cyber-warriors and influencers are over-shadowing public relations and official messaging. Information bubbles are turning into realities and misinformation is unanchoring the public’s sense of values such as truth and justice.

It is clear that public policy must address the chaos currently endemic in the news ecosystem. The question arises as to the role of markets and governments respectively in producing the solutions and towards what end. In this regard, the new business models produced by the market tend to be commercially-oriented and demand-responsive. The usual result is a news industry dominated by “virtual” equivalents of tabloids and patronage-driven content. The fate of the news industry cannot be left solely in the hands of private players – such as the dominant platforms and media corporations. Government intervention is necessary but we should be mindful of risks that governments would use this as a cover to tighten its control over the public narrative – through unreasonable actions on content moderation, censorship and fact-checking. This may re-establish information order but not an information democracy. Governments should demonstrate their leadership through a targeted approach to address the gaps that the private sector can’t reach such as the production of content public goods.

Organisational considerations in an information society

The restoration of information order requires the reorganising of the newspaper industry in alignment with the features of an information society.

  • Abundance. The traditional value proposition of the newspaper industry is based on value-add derived from relative scarcity of information. When information is abundant and attention is constrained, the likelihood that news will be consumed (read) and, with that, its ability to influence will diminish. This will cause the average value add from news to fall. Winner-Take-All (WTA) suggest the value will be unequally distributed to a few successful players. This implies most content will be produced below marginal costs. On its own, content will not be able to generate sufficient value to reward producers. This implies content business models can no longer be based on its product form[8] (newspaper, book, digital). Instead, the new business models should be based on authenticity (information, events, personality, experience). Value is realised through an integrated approach that monetises real-time engagements (events), brand, influence and even participants (user data). The policy approach therefore needs to be holistic rather than content-focused.
  • Digitalisation and networks. Traditional firms[9] were organisationally efficient due to the high friction costs of processing information. Digitalisation and networks have lowered the costs of content production, storage and facilitated automation. Content and advertisements are distributed via global platforms. Logistical costs have been replaced by quality control) including filtering) and risk management costs. In the process, the role of humans in generating news content, maintaining editorial quality and managing content production will diminish because it is too costly and be supplemented by automation. Digitalisation and networks imply the trend will favour news organisations that are structured to support modularity. Policies need to focus on lowering the costs of quality control (e.g. editing, authentication) and strengthening the learning curve for humans.
  • Modularity. Everyone can be a journalist in the information society. As is evident from recent trends, reporters are becoming the subjects; putting out their stories and opinions, their personality and events are becoming part of the brand. Modularity should be supported by at-source concepts to facilitate the content production and delivery with minimal interventions. The news ecosystem should be organised to be individual-centric. This would include shaping policies that support citizen journalists and that enable producers to benefit more from monetisation of their content. Journalism and other forms of content production are no longer distinct but should be viewed as embedded activities within the individual-centric and transparent information society.

Roadmap to reorganise the news industry for an information society

The information society is different from an industrial society. This implies that different strategies. The proposed roadmap to guide the remaking of the news industry is based on four reinforcing strategies. They are to: reorganise the government news ecosystem, expand the supply of public news, position news as a growth industry, and align the regulatory framework.

  1. Reorganise the government news ecosystem

The content landscape has changed drastically but the government machinery for communications remains roughly unchanged. Unsurprisingly, the government’s messages are being drowned out by social media and weakening its influence on the public narrative. Growing insecurity may explain why governments, even in matured democracies, are increasingly intolerant of non-sanitised content and are leaning towards tightening content rules (censorship, moderation). While governments like to blame others (platforms, foreign enemies), the loss of influence reflects governments are doing a bad job of getting their message out to the public.

The government’s communications machinery – comprising ministries, agencies and national news agencies (print, radio and television) – have become increasingly ineffective. Agencies, officials and politicians have increasingly outsourced communications to consultants, cyber warriors, and influencers. There are some points worth noting though in reorganising the government’s news ecosystem. First, government content is not the same as private content. Government content carries weight because they represent official announcements and are precedent-setting. Due care is necessary as even small inaccuracies or inconsistencies can have substantial and long-lasting consequences. Second, government news is produced based on data, studies, consultations, discussions and decisions. Excepting high-profile announcements, government news tends to be detailed and boring. In most instances, the readership base is select but they can be highly influential and therefore valuable. Third, monetisation is rightly subject to constraints on commercialisation of public goods but this is an area that deserve exploration. Fourth, if government communications are poor, it is usually because they need to avoid controversy. However, there are also instances where officials or vested interests may seek to avoid scrutiny and debate on their decisions and actions; particularly if they are doing a bad job or have things to hide.

These caveats aside, the starting point for a reorganisation is to map the current structure of government communications to get a full picture of who is doing what and to identify redundancies and gaps. The map would indicate how government content is produced, vetted and, most importantly, distributed. Distribution would cover the traditional channels – such as government news agencies or designated private or foreign media – and recent additions such as portals and social media. It would also highlight the dependence on external communication resources such as PR consultants, influencers and others and the financial costs involved.

Towards this end, a core unit, logically located at the leader’s office, should be tasked to plan and oversee the reorganisation. This unit would monitor as well as coordinate communication (including marketing) by government agencies across all channels – social media, newspapers, search engines. It would recommend streamlining of approval processes and resources, assess messaging quality and channel effectiveness, analyse content users, and recommend initiatives to increase the usage and value add of government content. To assess the communication effectiveness, the unit could track whether government messages are reaching its intended audience and its impact as well as assess whether different stakeholders are getting access to the information they need. The shortfalls in both cases represent information gaps to be addressed in the reorganisation plan.

Other goals could include as improving the public’s knowledge and appreciation of government policies and administration, increasing the levels of transparency, authenticity and accountability, increasing the usage of government information and ensuring the records of public activities – such as at courts and local governments – are well maintained (archived) and accessible to the public. Governments should aim to upgrade one-way communication into engagement by making public news more interactive and participative consistent with social media trends.

The reorganisation of the government’s communications machinery is central to reimagining the news ecosystem. Government-related information or public news accounts for a large proportion of pull content[10]. The government’s reorganisation can be positioned by injecting catalysts (such as for new products, demand) and supporting expansion of public needs for pull content.

  • Expand the supply of pull content

Expanding the supply of pull content is a critical strategy. The decline of the newspaper industry reflects changes in the type of content supplied and demanded. The dominance of push content represents a debasement in the domestic quality of information in circulation – reflected by demand for “misinformation” and accompanied by the crowding out of local content by global content. In particular, the shrinking local production of pull content reflects a reduction in information flows that inform public debate and that function as a public good in a democracy.

In addition, Emily Bell[11] notes “the first thing you lose is on the ground reporting resources, really important to understand that that feeds everything”. The vacuum is replaced by “a rise in companies, political lobbyists, pacs, which are the political advertising committees in the States, using news media, things that look like local news to get their message across…the vacuum that’s created…is filled by all kinds of interests, where it’s very hard for the reader to actually understand why they’re seeing these messages…I realize it’s not just about what are you getting out there on a daily basis that’s being read by your audience and what money is coming through the door? It’s about a civic function of being able to convene people. It’s about building a kind of memory and public record and having a stable environment for that”.

Frances Cairncross argues “support for public-interest news providers is particularly urgent and justified. In the immediate future, government should look to plug the local gap to ensure the continued supply of local democracy reporting”.

She recommends developing a media literacy strategy based on identifying gaps and opportunities for collaboration; providing funding for innovative approaches to increase the supply of public-interest news; and tax relief on payments for online news, promoting local and investigative journalism and extending the zero-rating of VAT to digital publications. To support public-interest journalism, she proposes establishing an “Institute for Public Interest News…a centre of excellence and good practice, carrying out or commissioning research, building partnerships with universities, and developing the intellectual basis for measures to improve the accessibility and readership of quality news online; channelling a combination of public and private finance into those parts of the industry it deemed most worthy of support”.

Government interventions are needed to expand the supply of pull content, in particular to establish a base for community content, and to support a vibrant pull content ecosystem.

  • Position news as a growth industry

The right mindset is need to take on the challenge of revitalising the news industry. News should not be treated as a sunset industry. The decline of the traditional industry reflects the pressure on legacy newspaper firms. News, and content generally, should rightly be viewed as a growth industry in the information society if one is not to overlook the opportunities.

The challenge therefore is to unlock the possibilities. Bold government intervention is required as markets alone cannot achieve this transformation. Governments need to invest resources and provide incentives to facilitate new business models and to accelerate growth and innovation. The news or content industry can be positioned as a source of new jobs. This should not be on a standalone basis but viewed in conjunction with the creation of other activities. For example, new information rules will create many jobs related to content regulation and moderation. Many content jobs will also be created related to technologies (AI[12] and IOT) and the expansion of channels and segments.

The main growth barriers lie in the pull content ecosystem – comprising local newspapers, speciality and research publications (academia, think tanks and NGOs) covering administrative and community activities, statistics, research and policy debate. Structural revenue and cost constraints impede monetisation and undermine the commercial viability of pull content; which can largely be regarded as “non-profit”. Revenue constraints arise mainly from consumption constraints (overload, attention limits and consumption behaviours) and disintermediation effects (data and advertising disintermediation by platforms). Consumption constraints are difficult to overcome particularly as content usage and values are generally low; except on occasions when specific demand for content is high. The public benefits of pull content are far greater than the private benefits. Pull content are critical ingredients that feed into constructive debate and a vibrant democracy.

Decisive interventions and catalysts are needed to overcome these growth constraints. First, there is a need to strengthen mutual consumption and monetisation within the pull content ecosystem. Charles Goldfinger explains “information is inherently incestuous; its producers are also its consumers. If we look around institutions seen as major producers of information, universities, medias, banks or insurance companies, is it not true that they consume internally the bulk of information output they produce? This means simply that the very large share of information generated are consumed free of charge. Some information suppliers recognize it explicitly: thus all newspapers assert proudly that each copy of their paper is read by 4 or 5 people: one paying customer for three or five freeloaders! Even when payment actually takes place, different pricing arrangements can apply to similar information artifacts. In the information market, give-aways, subsidies (through advertising), cross-subsidies, indirect (third-party) payments, composite or bundled prices are a rule rather than exception”.

Second, the government could designate agencies to anchor demand for and promote the monetisation of pull content; in the form of funding or purchase commitments by providing seed money, grants or incentives. This can be targeted to support content related to public interest activities and historical records. These commitments should be used to create income opportunities for private firms and individuals to produce content on public and community activities. These purchase commitments can be supported by private sponsorship and crowdfunding arrangements.

Third, the government could create synergistic opportunities by forging closer linkages between government news, education, civic participation and collaboration with the private sector. Journalistic skills have long learning curves. Content skills should be given greater emphasis in the school curriculum. Apprenticeship programs should expand to include writing reports on community events and public interest issues, content moderation (fact-checking, editing) and social media interactions. Ex-journalists could be recruited to teach and develop the educational and apprenticeship programs.

Fourth, rather than defend legacy models, policies should aim to nurture and accelerate the growth of innovative business models. In particular, consideration should be given to improving income opportunities at the long-tail where individual producers struggle to earn a decent living. In this regard, it is important to ensure the benefits from regulatory initiatives to protect copyright are extended to individuals.

Fifth, the establishment of a government platform[13] is a key intervention that will change the dynamics of news intermediation, delivery and engagement. A government platform, modelled on the best features of the global platforms, can be used to customise delivery of government and local community news and facilitate aggregation strategies. In addition, the platforms can promote local content and expand reach to local audiences. This will provide a base to establish a national network to buy and sell independent pull content. The platform can also provide free or inexpensive AI tools (for editing, blogging) to help individual writers mitigate cost constraints[14]. A government platform can also facilitate the monetisation and distribution of value in favour of individual or small firm content producers. In this regard, the government platform offers high levels of community engagement, authenticity and copyright protection. It can attract high-value advertising revenue and the ecosystem can be organised to promote co-branding and spin-offs to ensure the bulk of value is channelled to individual content producers. Lastly, government platforms can be used to transform the relationship with citizens from being passive recipients of government communications into active and responsible participants in a democracy.

  • Align the regulatory framework

The redrawing of regulatory boundaries is an important exercise to clarify and streamline the status, definitions, roles, privileges and obligations of the traditional and new media. At the moment, there is a stark discrepancy between the highly-regulated traditional media and the regulation-free internet media. Traditional media is shackled by laws, codes and public interest obligations. Journalists tend to belong to a union and are subject to employer supervision. At the same time, journalists and traditional media firms enjoy privileges such as legal protection in performing their duties and preferential access (e.g. briefings, restricted places). In contrast, bloggers, influencers and citizen journalists generally operate quite freely and are often active participants in their stories. However, the bloggers, influencers and citizen journalists increasingly account for a large proportion of news stories and videos and are increasingly influential in shaping the public narrative. The uncertainties posed by non-regulation of the new media should be addressed.

One key issue relates to whether citizen journalists should be accredited as journalists or media representatives. In Hong Kong, Kelly Ho notes the Police General Orders were amended to “redefine media representatives as government-registered and internationally recognised agencies, newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Press cards issued by local journalist groups would no longer be accepted as valid accreditation”. The Police argued these changes “would help facilitate frontline policing and reporting…help identify members of the press and bar self-proclaimed journalists from protest sites”. She notes “the new guidelines drew widespread criticism…as seriously impeding press freedom in the city” and cut out freelance journalists and student reporters who had provided “compelling reporting” during the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. “Student and freelance reporters often faced great personal risk in capturing iconic protest moments but received little reward, lacked protection from a large news outlet and bore the brunt of police-protester actions”.

In France, Jariel Arvin notes the mass protests against “police brutality and a new draft law that would make it a crime to publish photos or videos of on-duty police officers with the aim of harming their physical or psychological integrity. If convicted, violators of the law could face fines of more than $50,000 and up to a year in prison”. The French government argued the measure is needed “to protect police officers and their families from online abuse that could end in violence. But critics say it will curb both civil liberties and police accountability”. “Journalists, civil liberties groups, social justice advocates, and victims of police brutality are all fundamentally opposed to the measure. It constitutes a serious infringement of freedom of expression. There will be great reluctance [for the public and journalists] to disseminate images or even to film.”

In the US, this issue is debated within the context of constitutional rights. George Washington points out there is confusion created by new guidelines that are “part of a broader legislative effort in Washington to simultaneously offer protection for the press while narrowing the scope of who is afforded it.”[15] This would exclude ““bloggers from the news media, along with persons and entities that simply make information available”. Generally, “the Free Speech and Free Press Clauses of the First Amendment don’t distinguish between media businesses and nonprofessional speakers…And the courts have ruled that the freedom of the press applies to everyone who disseminates information…not just giant corporate media companies”. This debate also revolves around objections to the notion the “freedom of the press only applies to large, well-heeled corporate media” and that “citizens have the right to investigate government affairs and share what they learn with others”.

To allay the confusion, one solution is to design a tiered accreditation framework to provide clarity on the respective roles and boundaries for different types of journalists. The framework would seek to match the privileges and protections (such as copyright, income, welfare, access and security issues) with their obligations (including responsibilities, norms and legal liabilities).

Similar issues arise also at the firm level; in relation to whether websites or blogs which originate news content should be registered. Registration will enhance authenticity and this will be helpful for accreditation, the granting of privileges[16] and the establishment of accountabilities. Nonetheless, there are legitimate concerns that registration could be used as a tool to clamp down on dissent.

The most contentious issues revolve around the boundary separating platforms and publishers[17]. One issue relates to ownership rights of content and whether platforms may freely use or allow the posting of content without permission. Matt Stoller notes recent Australian legislation compelling dominant platforms to bargain with news outlets is intended to address “a bargaining imbalance with media outlets…it is an anti-monopoly law…The law also has non-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions, to make sure that dominant digital platforms don’t use fear to bully publishers. Platforms have to treat non-news entities like news entities in how they distribute content, and they can’t retaliate if a news entity chooses to register and demand bargaining rights[18]”.

A second issue relates to the scoping of liabilities for content. This will determine the obligations for platforms to moderate content, However, there are inadvertent consequences from platforms wielding power over access. Matt Taibbi points out content moderation by platforms tends to favour “articles and videos issued by major corporate news outlets like CNN or CBS while decreasing traffic for independent sites”. “Aggressive cleaning” of alternative video-based channels discriminates against on-location production of images and reporting by independent content creators. “Live stream capability was allowing the broadcast of violence and hate speech…alternative media…simply showing offensive reality…the documentation of political demonstrations”.

Caitlin Johnstone highlights platform content moderation has led to “a jarring escalation in the steadily intensifying campaign against alternative news outlets online” and ended up “demonetising content from independent media”. In this regard, the independent media is provided with little recourse.  “Like all large online platforms, YouTube’s appeals process is notoriously opaque and unaccountable. These accounts could remain demonetized for months, or forever, without any clear explanation at all”. The explanations tend to be boilerplate notices such as Harmful content: Content that focuses on controversial issues and that is harmful to viewers, without specifics. “Nobody receiving these notifications appears to have any idea what is meant by harmful or controversial”. “YouTube has been providing template responses saying We recommend making the needed changes to your content and reapply in 30 days while refusing to specify what the needed changes even are”.

Hence, governments should hone their policies for the news industry as a broad approach would waste resources. Ultimately, governments should aspire to evolve a news ecosystem that supports the growth of the information industry; increase citizen engagement and participation; and increase the level of transparency and authenticity to promote an information democracy.

Conclusion: Forces reshaping the news landscape and vision

The reimagining of the news industry is an important exercise; not just for addressing the consequences of a decline in the traditional newspaper industry but also a recalibration of policies in cognisant of the information forces reshaping the landscape and an opportunity to reset the vision for the news industry.

The news landscape is being reshaped. The core (survivors) of traditional media will remain intact but their share will be further eroded in favour of new media communication models (such as livestreaming). It is unlikely the global platforms can sustain their domination either. The global platforms are facing attacks from many sides; particularly as governments assert sovereignty over content, data, algorithms and influence. Fragmentation of the global platform ecosystem is likely to occur and this has significant implications for content intermediation. In addition, changes in information rules – such as in relation to content moderation and accountabilities – and the evolution of advertising models – possibly towards co-branding and participation modes – will alter the business dynamics of the news industry.

Nonetheless, the current disorder presents a good opportunity to reset the vision for the news industry. One goal should be to tap the opportunities arising from positioning the news industry as a source of economic growth. This goal can be pursued through policies to accelerate the growth of new individual-centric models and to foster an ecosystem to support peer-to peer distribution and monetisation of news (including from spill-over activities and relationships).

Another goal is to enhance the role of news towards achieving an information democracy. In this regard, the current tribulations of information disorder should be regarded as a test of society’s capability to manage massive amounts of information. Will governments be able to resist the temptation to walk down the path of censorship and find more freedom-compatible ways of overcoming information disorder? In this regard, the ability of the news industry to operate at the front line of truth should be supported by creating a conducive environment for investigative and community reporting, and by expanding quality sources of information. The threat posed by reality bubbles and polarisation should be addressed by initiatives to open up community bubbles, promoting informed and active citizen participation and raising the levels of transparency and authenticity. In reimagining the industry, it is important to reinforce the role of news industry as a source of reality and as the conscience of a democratic society.


Ari Paul (4 March 2021) “Fear and celebration of Substack are both misplaced”. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) (26 July 2019) “Digital platforms inquiry final report”.

Caitlin Johnstone (4 February 2021) “YouTube financially deplatforms swath of indie media accounts”.

Charles Goldfinger (4th quarter 2000) “Intangible economy and financial markets”. Communication & Strategies No. 40.;jsessionid=C4D6E97EB7C9D254292B4261405F5EAE?doi=

David Skok, Taylor Owen (16 July 2020) “Emily Bell: On journalism in the age of social media”. Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (2010) “Potential policy recommendations to support the reinvention of journalism”. Discussion Draft.

Frances Cairncross (12 February 2019) “The Cairncross review: A sustainable future for journalism”.

George Washington (17 April 2019) “Americans have no idea what freedom of the press means”. Originally published at Washington’s Blog.

Jane Elizabeth (14 November 2017) “After a decade, it’s time to reinvent social media in newsrooms”. American Press Institute.

Jariel Arvin (10 December 2020) “France’s mass protests against a controversial police security bill, explained”. Vox.

Justin Hendrix (20 February 2021) “What we can learn from the Facebook-Australia news debacle”. MIT Technology Review.

Kelly Ho (24 September 2020) “8 key protest moments captured by freelance and student journalists”. Hong Kong Free Press.

Leonard Witt (2006) “Constructing a framework to enable an open source reinvention of journalism”. Kennesaw State University.

Matt Stoller (21 February 2021) “Facecrook: Dealing with a global menace”.

Matt Taibbi (27 January 2021) “Meet the censored: Status coup – Silicon Valley is shutting down speech loopholes. The latest target: live content”. TK News.

Nicholas Diakopoulos (11 June 2019) “Artificial intelligence-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the future of the knowledge economy”. The Conversation.

Phuah Eng Chye (11 May 2019) “Critique of information”.

Phuah Eng Chye (4 July 2020) “Government of the Data (Part 3: The future of government platforms)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (7 November 2020) “Information rules (Part 1: Law, code and changing rules of the game)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (21 November 2020) “Information rules (Part 2: Capitalism, democracy and the path forward)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (5 December 2020) “Information rules (Part 3: Regulating platforms – Reviews, models and challenges)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (19 December 2020) “Information rules (Part 4: Regulating platforms – Paradigms for competition)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (2 January 2021) “Information rules (Part 5: The politicisation of content)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (16 January 2021) “Information rules (Part 6: Disinformation, transparency and democracy)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (30 January 2021) “Information rules (Part 7: Regulating the politics of content)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (13 February 2021) “Information rules (Part 8: The decline of the newspaper and publishing industries)”.

Phuah Eng Chye (27 February 2021) “Information rules (Part 9: The economics of content)”.

[1] See David Skok and Taylor Owen.

[2] South Korea’s online OhmyNews, launched in 2000, was touted as a success. However, Ohmynews was unable to generate sufficient income to cover costs and in 2010, switched from citizen journalism to becoming a forum about citizen journalism. See

[3] Such as trolls or spam.

[4] See also Justin Hendrix.

[5] See Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC); “Information rules (Part 7: Regulating the politics of content)”.

[6] See “Critique of information”.

[7] See “Information rules (Part 9: The economics of content)” for an explanation of push and pull concepts.

[8] They should be regarded as by-products.

[9] Ronald Coase’s transaction cost theory of the firm provides a theoretical framework to understand traditional firm structures. See

[10]   See “Information rules (Part 9: The economics of content)”.

[11] See David Skok and Taylor Owen.

[12] Nicholas Diakopoulos suggests “the future of AI-enabled journalism will still have plenty of people around…Human work will be hybridized – blended together with algorithms…augment human work, though, to help people work faster or with improved quality. And it can create new opportunities for deepening news coverage and making it more personalized for an individual reader or viewer…AI technologies appear to actually be creating new types of work in journalism…Supervision, management or what journalists might call editing of automated content systems are also increasingly occupying people in the newsroom”.

[13] See “Government of the Data (Part 3: The future of government platforms)”.

[14]   See “Information rules (Part 9: The economics of content)”.

[15] View attributed to Freedom of the Press Foundation.

[16] Matt Stoller notes that in Australia, “media outlets have to register with the government to get bargaining rights. The bill mandates that digital platforms tell media outlets in advance what data they collect and when they are going to change important algorithms on which those outlets rely”.

[17] See “Information rules (Part 7: Regulating the politics of content)”.

[18] Platforms have to provide explanations on the data they are collecting and disclose information on how they are using the data to generate profits.