The Future of Journalism

Leading media critics, David Carr and Tom Rosenstiel have both commented on their views of the future of journalism, stating that although emerging digital technologies are certainly changing the landscape of traditional media channels, they will adapt and continue to find ways of remaining profitable. Carr says that new “excellent and growing” sites such as Gawker, BuzzFeed and Business Insider are taking from the “great, vast sea of information and editing, selecting it, surfacing it” in ways that are visually appealing to consumers. They are putting “new skin on a constantly changing world of news,” he says. While “some call it aggregation [and] others call it stealing,” these sites are hiring more reporters and producing serious content.

In a recent lecture, Carr suggested the newspaper, as his generation has known it, is already obsolete. “We’re built on scarcity in print,” Carr said. “You lose compression on pricing when you have no scarcity.” Carr still believes journalism will eventually find its way to remain profitable in changing times and his publication has already taken steps to that end, including putting up a pay wall for frequent readers. Carr said he believes young people are willing to pay the convenience charge for coverage that sorts through the digital flurry of news. In a 2011 Growth From Knowledge Mediamark Research and Intelligence poll, 22 percent of people aged 18 to 24 read newspapers at least every other day compared to 40 percent of adults overall.

Rosenstiel recently gave a compact TEDx talk that carefully laid out problems and opportunities for journalism resulting from digital technology disruption. Disruption, refers to shrinking newsrooms and weak advertising revenues. He states, “New technology has fundamentally dissolved the old system for financing news. Seventy percent of the classified advertising in newspapers 10 years ago is gone, vanished.” He mentions that newspapers have 40 percent less revenue than they had in 2000. Most of which has happened since 2008. The number of reporters in newspaper newsrooms in the United States is 30 percent less than it was 10 years ago. However, Rosenstiel does not believe that this means consumers are turning away from news altogether. And in this revelation lies the secret to future success. According to Rosenstiel, people of all a
ges yearn for news, “Today 25 percent of American adults say they get more news than they used to. Ten percent say they get less.  And on Mobile devices, where the news is more convenient, 32 percent say they get more news than ever before… Those who understand the audience will thrive; and you will save the next journalism.”

 

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