Samuel Kay, Natasha Patel and Tom Conry
The Digital Newsroom –
“Threat or Opportunity?”
The Digital Newsroom is the ability to mould different journalistic skills and technologies into
one piece of multimedia journalism, which provides the target audience with a variation of
sources to give it an in depth account of breaking news.
With the constant introduction of new technology , it gives a vast range of people a chance to
break news in various forms of multimedia. However, this could be perceived as a threat to
the traditional journalist and news package because of the ever growing number of citizen
journalists. This has revolutionised the way the public receive news, as we the audience have
a greater selection of sources to access at any time.
This gives the news consumer a choice to remain with the traditional journalist or opt for
alternative sources of news.
The aim of this presentation is to analyse and evaluate different sources and arguments and
conclude overall whether the digital newsroom is a threat or an opportunity.
Citizen Journalism is the concept of members of the public, playing an active role in the
process of collecting, reporting and analysing news and information.
Mark Glaser, a freelance journalist who frequently writes on new media issues, said:
“The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training
can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to
create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others.”
Citizen Journalists all have the opportunity to break the news or even be part of the news for
example, with incidents like natural disasters, where news crews can’t get to the scene on
time, citizen journalists can record material on their phone.
However with the rise to prominence of the citizen journalist members of the public may well
endanger themselves, trying to encapsulate the atmosphere in the desire to get the exclusive
Social Networking Sites
Twitter and Facebook are two of many primary social networking sites, news institutes have
used this as an opportunity to post their news to the masses through this form.
Many media organisations and journalists are either linked to a social networking site or have
joined up to one themselves. It is clear to see that these sites are becoming more and more
popular with the traditional journalist, as it is a way they can collect and collate material and
post it within an instant.
A great opportunity from these sites is that there is no deadline, news can be published
instantly at any time of the day or night to a community of interest with a possibility for
On the other hand, this can be seen as a threat to journalists, particularly in the print industry
as it easier and quicker to access news from the comfort of your own home while your
socialising with your friends.
Blogging gives anybody the chance to post about the latest news topics or post their opinion on a
certain subject and is used by people worldwide as a form of self expression.
Access to blogs is free which means blogs may be preferred to some websites of newspapers who
charge for viewing.
With the uprising of blogging it means news institutions have to invest more money to expand their
multimedia dimensions, which in turn could be very costly.
If bloggers track down sources and details they can provide an effective alternative to traditional
Some well known journalists have made negative statements about blogging such as Andrew Marr
who made the statement "A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single,
slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother's basements and
ranting. They are very angry people" This shows that journalists may see blogging as a threat to
journalism and believe it is undermining their profession.
However, this link shows that the print press are using blogging to their advantage.
Video Journalism is a form of broadcast journalism, where the production of video content in which the
journalist films, edits and often presents his or her own material.
Michael Rosenblum developed a unique vision for broadcast journalism news based on the concept of
This method makes it possible to document any event while it is still occurring.
An increase in video journalism runs differently to changes in video technology and a decrease in costs.
With the invention of quality cameras and editing systems that have become smaller and available at a
fraction of their previous prices, these changes have made the single operator method has spread rapidly.
Many argue that video journalists can get more out of a story as they have the opportunity to get closer to
it, avoiding the impersonality that may come with a larger film crew.
It is next generation television: story telling in which you are not be bound by the many constraints of
traditional news production.
Process journalism is the practice of reporting a story as it is developing.
It allows a news event to be quickly broken to a mass audience with depth, analysis and
reaction able to be added afterwards as it becomes available.
This is particularly utilised by mediums such as online and 24-hour TV news.
By being able to break the story immediately, even in an incomplete or rough form, the
broadcaster or journalist is able to claim ownership of the story and gain an exclusive. This
can be done through blogs, mobile alerts or email.
Later, a full news package can be added when full details emerge or develop, adding context,
analysis and reflection, as well as adding interactive elements which help to make the article
a long term resource.
Bradshaw’s model for the 21st century
newsroom perfectly illustrates process
It highlights the two main strengths of the
digital newsroom: speed and depth.
While these two attributes are essentially
contradictory, they are the two keys focuses
as a story passes through the newsroom and
Stories are initially broken as quickly as
possible through various forms of
multimedia with the sole intention of
reaching the broadest market.
Later, depth can be added to create a more
detailed, quality piece which can form a long
Distributed journalism involves creating a network of contacts or ‘community’ to aid the
newsgathering and reporting process.
By managing this community, a journalist is able to collate vast amounts of information from
numerous sources, crowd sourcing stories that they would otherwise not have access to.
Through using various tools and collaborating with other journalists the reporter is able to
investigate stories in great depth and allowing others to add value to the news package.
A potential downside to this approach is the opinion that content is sometimes neglected or
compromised in the process of building a community.
There is also the problem of trying to connect with the ‘silent population’, those who may
well be useful contacts but do not have access to technologies such as the internet.
Bradshaw’s model on distributed
journalism highlights the network of
contacts a modern journalist must
cultivate and the tools and systems they
must be familiar with.
Due to the model not being arranged
into a hierarchy, it illustrates how the
distributed journalist must carefully
manage their community to ensure the
contributors, tools and systems utilised
are the most appropriate for each piece.
Backpack journalism is another form of journalism that requires the journalist to be a
reporter, cameraman, editor and producer of the stories.
These backpack journalists must do the work of an entire crew however, still deliver results
as they would have been intended, had an entire crew been there.
The skills required to become a “backpacker” is heavily due to technological advances which
are allowing reporters to produce more with less.
Some of the equipment that would likely be found with a backpack journalist would include
satellite phones, a digital camera, and a lightweight laptop.
This demonstrates how journalists need to be multi skilled and are able to use a variety of
techniques and technologies.
With the constant updating of new technologies it is increasingly important for print
journalists and print organisations to adapt to this ever changing environment. The rapid fall
of newspaper sales has meant that a large amount of newspapers and magazines have
expanded into online sites.
However, there is still a threat posed to these print organisations as many of them charge for
full access to their websites whilst there are established sites such as the BBC which offer
free exposure to news.
Developing these websites for print organisations can be very costly and also time
consuming, whilst bloggers can collect their sources from free news sites and post the
information in an instant. This sparks the argument of quality vs. quantity as people want to
receive news as and when it happens with the raw details, rather than an in depth account
given the next day on a deadline.
Web Journalism:// a new form of citizenship