“Is the disruption caused by digital technology to journalism making the world worse of better? And my answer is – Yes.” – Tom Rosenstiel (2014)
This week we were asked to watched two videos, both of which discussed the changing nature of news media and more broadly, the future of journalism. These discussions led me to reflect on week 5’s blog topic, participatory journalism and further assess the role the audience is now playing in content production and how this will further influence the future of journalism.
I found the TedX lecture, by Tom Rosenstiel particularly engaging. He raised interesting ideas that I had not previously thought about. He discussed the idea that audiences are entering a ‘new enlightenment’ when it comes to news media as consumers now have the power to decide when and how they access it. In the past, traditional news outlets or ‘gatekeepers’ decided what we heard and how we heard it, now the audience has the command to control their learning and decide what news is important. In accordance with this, news media must now be designed to keep up with how we live our lives rather than the other way around. This is decidedly true with today’s fast paced, screen obsessed culture.
Another idea Rosenstiel mentioned was the notion that the audience have become ‘teachers in journalism’. This is inextricably linked to participatory journalism as it looks at the idea that consumers are creating and contributing to news content like never before. Rosenstiel also noted the importance of understanding the audience in order to thrive in journalism. Journalism must ask the audience what they think, rather than dictating what they should think.
Despite this shift to a more interactive role of the consumer when it comes to creating content, the journalism we once knew is certainly not doomed. Social media and the continuing rise of new technologies means that journalists now have a means to gain more knowledge and content from consumers in order to create better, more timely news. Although the number of paid journalists has seen a massive decrease in recent years, this does not mean the end of traditional journalism. Journalists and consumers should be encouraged to work together in order to produce news of a higher standard, news that is hopefully, more detailed and diverse.
Rosenstiel, T 2013, The Future of Journalism, TED X online video, YouTube, viewed 19 April 2014 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuBE_dP900Y>
New York Times, 2014, NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism, online video, YouTube, viewed 19 April 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WPlazqH0TdA>