Controversial plans to introduce ‘clickbait journalism’ could have disastrous consequences for Welsh journalism, and in particular coverage of Welsh political institutions. Janet Finch-Saunders AM has responded to concerns voiced by a number of journalists recently, over alleged plans to introduce ‘click targets’ relating to WalesOnline content for individual journalists.
"I have concerns that such targets amount to sanctioning clickbait and could have disastrous consequences for Welsh journalism, in particular coverage of Welsh political institutions. Placing an emphasis on ‘popularity’ above public interest sets a precedent that will be difficult to reverse. I would strongly urge Trinity Mirror to think again before pressing ahead with these plans, although I appreciate that yours is almost certainly not the only media organisation introducing such targets.
Whilst the internet has played a transformative role in democratising access to information, in other ways it has had a more damaging effect. With so much information floating around, the temptation to sensationalise is already difficult enough to resist. Traditional ‘newspapers’ can no longer function on advertising revenue alone, driving them towards online advertising – and hence the need for clicks.
In the long run, however, I am concerned that these targets will have a hugely damaging impact on our political culture, spelling an end to serious investigative journalism. It’s a depressing trend and the decisions taken by politicians at this institution are far too important to be trivialised."