Although I will stop writing about the media on a daily basis, I believe commentating at this time on the state of journalism is vitally important
I dont think it says much for my news sense that I have been scooped on this blogs coming demise!
The Press Gazettes editor, Dominic Ponsford, rightly reports today that I am to stop writing the Greenslade blog at the end of this month.
It has been more than 10 years since I wrote the first posting in what now seems like a different world. Many newspaper editors, if not their owners, were still confident that newsprint would survive the digital revolution.
Then came social media. At the time of my first posting, Facebook was in its infancy, as was YouTube. Twitter had only just been invented. There was no Instagram or WhatsApp. Since their arrival and their success in attracting millions of users, newspaper revenues, from both advertising and sales, have been so badly hit.
The drama of new medias impact on mainstream media has been one of the major themes of this blog. One of the other running stories has been the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World, which led to the Leveson inquiry and the continuing row over how the press should be regulated.
On a global scale, I have sought to highlight the risks taken by journalists in trying to carry out their mission in countries where the rule of law and press freedom hardly exist. Recording the deaths of reporters, photographers and bloggers has been this blogs saddest, but most important, content.
I will continue writing for the Guardian although no longer on a daily basis. I have also agreed to increase my university teaching commitments. Here is what I told Press Gazette:
I am sad to be giving up the blog, but I think the work of holding newspapers their owners, controllers, editors and journalists to account remains vital because they still set the daily agenda and therefore remain hugely influential.
The Guardian has given me enormous freedom to do that, both with the self-published blog for the past ten years and in the 16 years before that when I wrote weekly for the paper. Journalism has been the central focus of my life for 53 years and I hope it remains so. Therefore, l am delighted that I will be able to maintain my relationship with the paper.
Without wishing to employ the clich about taking up new challenges, thats exactly what I am proposing to do. I cannot talk about the specific project in which Im involved which has nothing to do with news media but it is real and exciting. I am also increasing my teaching commitment at City, University of London.
I regard media commentating as a vital journalistic task at present because I am concerned about journalisms survival into the next decade.
My central worry is about a potential failure by UK media to hold power, meaning political power and business power, to account.
I proclaimed at the start of my blogging career that I was a digital revolutionary. I did so as something of a wake-up call to fellow journalists who were sceptical about the radical effect of online media.
A decade on, I joke about being a counter revolutionary. I still regard medias future as digital, of course. But I want us all to wake up to the implications of losing big media. Can we achieve that task without the scale and reach of a media that, for good or bad, is the locus of our national conversation?