News 2.0Can journalism survive the internet? And if it does…what does it mean for me? A/Prof Martin Hirst10 August 2009
News as conversation Journalists no longer control the distribution of the content they produce. This is a very scary thought for many journalists, but the reality is that once something is published (usually on Web sites), it belongs to the audience of readers and becomes part of a conversation about the news.
News 2.0 the news industry is seen to be failing our democratic ideals journalists are low on international surveys of people we trust the professional ethos of journalism is under threat from UGC the commodity form of news is no longer providing the profits it once did
Thesis 1: news is a universal human need news has been around for thousands of years because of market forces the mainstream media has let down the public pursuit of profits has led the MSM down market we are living in a sick celebrity culture that distorts our self-perception and slowly drives us all insane
Thesis 2: digital technologies are changing how we consume news globally, television is still the dominant news and entertainment media, but for how much longer? news is going mobile and it's being condensed the 140 character text message and “tweet” could be the future of news
Thesis 3: the singularity of convergence has changed news forever
professionalism has become a trap for journalists - they are tied into a corporate culture that is losing its shine
perhaps, as Robert McChesney suggests, journalists have to become "unprofessional" in order to reconnect with audiences
D-I-Y & UGC news via social networking is on the rise
Thesis 4: the crisis in the news business is not the same as the crisis in journalism they are related, but different a crisis of trust and credibility and a crisis of profitability we are now in a critical juncture and the global financial crisis is a further threat to the political economy of the news business
Thesis 5: new online business models are not yet proven advertising – most likely in market economy user pays – subscription model public service broadcasting – not politically supported online only publishing – unknown quantity public trust model – expensive to establish philanthropy – peanuts really Who pays the piper?
Thesis 6: there are positives in social networking and Web 2.0 some parts of the world are more connected than they’ve every been the collective nature of trust and verification is a key element of peer-to-peer sharing of information and can apply to news we need to position journalism as the collective wisdom of the public interest and speaking truth to power
Thesis 7: Can journalism survive the Internet? what happens to “journalism" when the economics of the news business are no longer working? if news is a universal trait of human society (thesis 1) then a method needs to be developed of continuing to provide reliable and common news-like information from trusted public sources
The basic principles around which a community of journalists—the new “reportorial community”—of working (professional) journalists and a variety of amateur communities (citizen journalists, eye-witnesses, accidental journalists, bloggers and gate-watchers) can be outlined as follows: defend and extend the public interest access to news is a human right news industry in public ownership through collective strength journalists (public reporters) speak truth to power the union represents the class interests of journalists and the present form of its potential democratic and collective strength
The VJ Can we argue thus traditional journalism and its reliance on the word and linearity is at odds with the new mash-up pop culture of multimedia’s art and images? The digitally ignorant journalists sees their work as a process of discovery and division of labour. The digitally gotcha, sees no distinction between the tools and process. David Dunkley Gymeah’svision of the VJ
Skills + digital brain Journalists don't [only] have to learn how to take photos, though maybe they should, but they need to think about new ways to connect to an audience that is increasingly connected to them. Nicky Usher, Online Journalism Review
A journalist’s most important tool will always be…. THEIR BRAIN
News navigator a navigator’s most important role is to facilitate a discussion about the news a navigator has to be a talented reporter, analyst, convener and multimedia “super-journo.”
What you need to know John Thompson writing at journalism.co.uk has a list of ten essential things a digital/multimedia journalist needs to know
Don’t be a twit – “tweet” How to use Twitter to build communities, cover your beat, instigate and engage in conversations Using Twitter as a resource can help keep a TV station on top of most local and breaking news. So says Patrick O’Brien, digital development director at WUSA-TV in Washington, DC Twitter in the newsroom
It’s the syndication, stupid! 2. How to use RSS feeds to gather news and manage them using filtering techniques (basic or advanced). RSS pulls together freshly published content from the web - be it blog posts, podcasts, or news - on subjects you choose..
Linking, not copying That there is a difference between link journalism and ‘cut and paste’ journalism (aka plagiarism). Scott Karp defines link journalism as “linking to other reporting on the web to enhance, complement, source, or add more context to a journalist's original reporting”. Good link journalism should briefly summarise the content of the article it is linking to, name the source and author and, of course, link directly to it. Any direct reproduction of text should be kept to an absolute minimum, appear in quotes, and be clearly attributed to its source.
Treat audience with respect It could be that your readers are smarter than you think. In fact, many are smarter than you - they know more than you do. Is there always wisdom in the crowd?
Be original That churnalism is much easier to spot online. If you do this regularly, your readers are already on to you - merely re-writing press releases without bringing anything to the table no longer cuts it.
Google is not “research” Google is your friend. But if you are not using advanced search techniques, you really have no idea what it is capable of. Chip Tracer, cyberjournalist
Don’t blame the tools You do not have to own, or even host, the technology to innovate in journalism and engage your readers. There is a plethora of free or cheap tools available online, so there is no excuse for not experimenting with them. Tool of the future for MoJo, the iMate JasJam
Do it well – practice now Multimedia for multimedia’s sake rarely works, and is often embarrassing. If you are going to do it, either do it well enough so it works as a standalone item or do it to complement your written coverage - for example, add a link to the full sound file of your interview with someone in your article, or a link to the video of someone’s entire speech at an event. The latter will enhance the transparency of your journalism too. Great tips and resources here and some useful tips on doing video on a budget.
Write for the web How to write search engine friendly journalism. Old school thinking about headline writing, story structure etc no longer applies online and there is also more to learn about tagging, linking and categorisation. Sub-editors (if you still have them), editors and reporters all need to know how to do this stuff.
Ethics is still important Learn more about privacy. You can find a lot of information about people online, especially via social networking sites, but think carefully about the consequences. And bear in mind that it cuts both ways, if you do not do it carefully, your online research could compromise your sources.
Now more than ever, we need professional journalists to help distinguish the wheat of reliable news and credible opinion from the chaff of information, rumor and propaganda that clogs the Internet, and to help create the next-generation vehicles for online journalism. Doug Millison, The journalist of tomorrow, 1999