"Anybody who tells you they know what the news business will look like in 5 years is either lying or delusional", says Dan Gross, the ex-Senior News Editor at Newsweek. Once one the world's largest print publications, Newsweek dropped the print side of its business and went online at the end of 2012. But what was supposed to be a decisive step into the 21st Century turned into a cautionary tale. As Newsweek went under, the popular wisdom that online is the future wasn't realised. As publisher Christian von Thillo points out, the reality is that print is not dead yet. "It's not that people don't buy newspapers anymore, It's just some people's business models don't work anymore." Now the bane of modern newspapers has become aggregator sites like The Huffington Post, which make money from other people's content. "It's theft, pure theft", says Vandermeersch angrily. And once everything has been made free it is very hard to turn back the tide. "We're like a butcher who has given free meat away for 15 years and then tells his customers they have to pay. They wonder why." Edwy Plenel, ex-Le Monde editor and founder of Mediapart, an investigative journalism start-up, says there is a serious danger with free content and content aggregation sites. He claims it is eroding good journalism; the backbone of democracy. The conflict is building. Aggregators have now changed how people interact with news. Digital companies like Buzzfeed think they've found the future in their social news revolution: "It's not just a broadcast of one to many, it's a model of lots of different people who are networked sharing things". But many journalists and editors fear that if things stay the way they are there'll be no investigative journalists left in ten years time. A fascinating insight into the battle silently raging at the heart of our information industry.
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