>The Future of Journalism (Final Paper)

>Journalism as it has been practiced over the past few decades is evolving into a field that employs multiple technological venues in order to reach its audience. Contrary to what people may believe journalism is not dying or being replaced by other media forms.

The need for news and a desire to understand what is happening in the world is a basic instinct. News had traveled for the longest time by newspaper, when paper boys used to cry “Read all about it” on street corners. The radio enhanced news dissemination by also being paired with music and today there is a radio show dedicated to many individual subjects. The television drew in viewers as newscasters presented news in condensed form and added video to enhance a situation. Television did draw away some readers of newspapers, but they have generally still been read by a wide variety of people. It is hard to imagine a world completely void of newspapers, because reading the news online and reading a paper are two different experiences. Many people enjoy reading a paper on their commute to work and probably will do so for a long time to come.

With the invention of the internet and the availability of all information in “one place” many argue that newspapers are dying and that we will shift entirely to online forms of news dissemination. Along with newspapers publishing their content online, video can be added to every story; more photos can be posted to depict the entire situation and news is a 24 hour business that never sleeps. Another aspect of the internet is that it is world wide, which means that countries are paying more attention to each other and people can read about news in any country of the world.

Some of the problems that journalists face are cuts in staff, more work but no raises and a struggle to provide quality work. A journalist is expected to be able to work a camera, shoot video, do sound production, film production, maintain a blog and file multiple stories as well. With one person doing the job of multiple people, the quality of news is taking a hit. Having to complete all of these tasks at the same deadline may mean the reporter does not have the time to do as in depth a research into one story as he/ she would wish to do. He/ she may settle with just a couple sources instead of multiple and with deadline pressure may not get the complete story which may result in a published correction in a later edition or post.

In order for newspaper companies to survive they need to train their journalists, especially traditionally print journalists, to use new emerging media to their advantage. New technology can enhance a story, allowing for every aspect to be shown. A video interview may show great quotes that did not make it into the print version. However, the inability to use these technologies correctly could greatly hurt the quality of a story.

New technology has also led to an interaction between those who produce the news and those who consume it. Readers can comment on stories, email the reporter directly and even start their own (video) blog on any topic of choice. It is not uncommon for citizens to record events on their camera phones or with video cameras and then post these on youtube or any other web site. Some stories were even broken by bloggers, for instance the landing of an airplane on the Hudson River.

Some voiced the fear that bloggers would replace journalists in some ways, but what must be considered is that journalists provide the basis for all news that is produced on the internet. Without traditional journalists, who are trained and put in the leg work to contact sources and research an issue, many stories would not be known in the world. All content that is produced online, concerning news, is based on the work done by a reporter and photographer. Newspapers provide a platform for journalists to do their work properly. A normal person would never be able to set up an interview with a mayor, actress or the president. With each piece that is published, a journalist expands his/her repertoire and builds a reputation. It is this reputation that allows the journalist to do their job properly.

The current shift in journalism will not be detrimental to the institution in any way; rather it will weed out those who are truly dedicated to reporting quality pieces from those who are solely interested in monetary gain. Only those who are trustworthy and produce quality work will survive. In the age of the internet people are inundated with information, some of it useless, and they need a venue that will offer them comprehensive coverage of an issue. Such a venue needs well-trained and capable reporters to put in the legwork and make the content great.
Another part of this shift is figuring out how to finance the business of news as revenue from advertisements are declining. Online advertisement revenue is not impossible to generate, but people are scared of the unknown and have not quite figured out how to generate the same profit as with print advertisements.

The future of journalism is not as dreary as most depict it. Witnessing the transition from old to new can be a difficult one as people tend to cling to what they know and lack the ability to see the greatness that new technologies can bring. One thing that draws people to journalism is the opportunity to experience and discover new things and share findings with the world. The way news is gathered, recorded and reported is just as interesting as the news itself and the new technologies available should be explored just as any story would be. With an open mind to expanding ways of reporting, journalists can take their craft to new levels and be more creative and innovative with their reporting styles while continuing to provide good stories for the masses.

Sources:

http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=142379
http://www.thefutureofjournalism.org.au/
http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/06/10-reasons-theres-a-bright-future-for-journalism179.html
http://www.innovationjournalism.org/archive/INJO-3-4/Alkio.pdf

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