Ten reasons journalism has a bright future

Original author: Mark Glaser
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Recently, there has been much debate about the future of newspapers, television and radio - about the future of journalism itself - in the light of the radical changes caused by technology and the Internet. I asked readers of this MediaShift blog what they think: is the journalism metaphorical cup half empty or half full? So, most are sure that we have a rather bright future ahead.

As you can understand, I share their enthusiasm. I would not have kept this blog if I had not believed that the situation was changing for the better. But I am an inveterate realist and a born-in skeptic, so I see months and even years of suffering ahead for (a decreasing number?) People working in traditional media. Not everything new will be good, and many ethical and technological traps await us.

But instead of dwelling on the negativity in detail, cursing changes and cursing fast-growing sites like Google and Craigslist, I would like to go to the bright side and talk about new media, about the positive aspects of what is happening and how we can achieve a revival of journalism . The most difficult will be adaptation to changes for large media companies, but they can learn a lot from successful business models of small media projects such as TMZ and The Smoking Gun (both, by the way, belong to media holdings).


1. More access to journalism works around the world.One of the advantages of the Internet is that it gives access to the content of newspapers, television channels, blogs and podcasts from around the world. World news sources are no longer limited to local media. Now we can go directly to the farthest corner of the world and find out the news from a completely different angle. No one has yet figured out how to effectively sell relevant advertising to an international audience, but this does not mean that an effective model will not be found sooner or later.

2. Aggregation and personalization are pleasant to readers.Tired of programming [there are in the media program go - approx. transl.], we are pleased to use online tools for compiling personal programs. Either on Google News, or through personalization of My Yahoo, or through an RSS reader, we can get quick access to the latest journalistic content that we like on one page. Some newspaper publishers are opposed to Google News, but the majority still find ways to aggregate content from other sources and create personalized versions of sites (see mywashingtonpost.com ). There is a more effective way to do journalism than just say "all the answers you can find here."

3. Digital delivery provides more opportunities to reach people.Before the advent of the web, traditional media offered only one way to deliver content - in print, through watching TV or listening to the radio. Now you can get their content online, by email, on your mobile phone and in any other way suitable for transferring bits and bytes. This is how journalism freed itself from the shackles of a traditional format.

4. More fact checking than ever in journalism history.It may be that a truly professional fact-checking was hit hard by staff reductions in major media outlets, but it’s also true that online bloggers and free minds provide decent reporting of fact-checking and balance. They may jab in the comments or have political biases, but they instantly signal weak disclosure, plagiarism or fake sources - this is great for journalists and readers.

5. Joint research with the participation of professional journalists and amateurs. The Internet allows for spontaneous investigations involving both professional reporters and amateur detectives. The Sunlight Foundation recently provided readers with specific search tools to help them verifywhich member of the US Congress employed his wives . Readers ground the mountain of information and found fried facts. The Los Angeles Times used the help of amateur detectives to uncover LonelyGirl15 cheating on Youtube [see article on Habré on this subject - a comment trans.]. Much more such collaborative investigations are made possible through simple online communication and experiments like NewAssignment.net .

6. More votes in the news stream.In the past, if you wanted to convey your opinion to people, correct someone else's mistake or make your own report, then you had to get a job in one of the main news organizations. Now, thanks to the growing influence of independent bloggers and online journalists, there are more ordinary people and experts who express their opinions in the news stream. This not only means a greater variety of points of view, but also removes the problem of centralized programming of news topics.

7. More sincerity and informal tone.Thanks to blogs and the unlimited volume of web pages, reporters can explain in detail what conflicts of interest they have in a given situation, which leads to greater transparency and sincerity in relations with readers. In addition, online texts always gravitate towards a more informal, personal style, which gives reporters, correspondents and editors a chance to write more humane and establish a closer relationship with the audience.

8. The growing flow of online advertising. Although representatives of the old media complain that online advertising does not bring enough income to compensate for their offline losses, but this does not mean that everything is already lost. In almost every forecast of online advertising - tens of percent growth over the next five years, and it's hard to believe that media companies won't get any of this. What can really happen is a decrease in the concentration of large media, so more advertising money will go to small independent sites, and not to large conglomerates.

9. Going online is good for the environment. Few people take into account how harmful our love for print newspapers and magazines is for the environment. Of course, publishers are trying to use recycled paper, but switching to online media has a much stronger effect . Replacing paper on the Internet really saves trees, which, in turn, means: media companies will help fight global warming with their actions. Many hope that in the future, some kind of universal electronic ink can replace printing on dead trees.

10. Stories never end. Maybe. One of the weaknesses of traditional journalism is that important topics rarely get continued. This usually requires a professional reporter to return to the topic and briefly rewrite everything that has been said before. But online stories can live much longer and in a variety of forms, so people can supplement them in the comments or add more facts to the text as they appear. Wikinews is one example of UGC news that anyone can add or fix.

What do you think? What other reasons are there for a brighter future for journalism? Or are you a techno-pessimist who thinks professional journalists do not expect anything good?

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