Requirements of a Journalist in theDigital Newsroom
Introduction• Defining the “digital newsroom” might be to firstly consider some of the requirements and processes brought on by this interesting new era in an industry traditionally dominated by the print and broadcast forms of media.• This presentation will seek to outline a number of the requirements and processes faced by the journalist in the digital age.
A Different Approach for a New Age• With newspaper circulations declining, journalists must adopt a new approach to succeed in today’s digital newsroom• However, simply replicating information published from newspapers is not nearly enough; journalists must train, innovate and create to meet the demands of the digital newsroom
Consequences• For journalists and publishers alike, competition is fierce – especially given the advent of citizen journalism – meaning opportunities to make substantial amounts of revenue are far more limited than they were during the emergence of the print press• For older ‘hacks’, retraining to suit the requirements of the digital age might be a step too far• “The vast amounts of information found on the internet can be confusing for readers – especially because of, as previously mentioned, the growth of citizen journalism” - Grueskin, Seave, Graves (2011)
An Exodus to the Digital Platform• The internet, as well as tablets and smartphones, are becoming increasingly more popular than their traditional counterparts
Consequences• “There is potential to build bigger audiences with lower marketing costs” - Grueskin, Seave, Graves (2011)• Readers can interact with the author of a particular article or other like-minded members of an audience when contributing in comment boxes, message boards, etc.• This interactive experience could be the catalyst for attracting audiences back to a particular website time and time again• There are also opportunities for more targeted content and advertising• However, simply attracting audiences to a website doesn’t necessarily mean higher revenue
Aggregation: enemy or ally• The concept of taking other authors’ work, writing your own version of it (but crediting the original author) and publishing it as your own article• Aggregation is a widespread practice in the digital newsroom• Minimises the arduous task of collecting original material and content• Content can be gathered to appear in one place to meet the needs of a specific audience• Aggregation can benefit both originators and aggregators
Consequences• Not everyone agrees with the concept. Bill Keller, former editor on the New York Times, says “too often it [aggregation] amounts to taking words written by other people, packaging them on your own website and harvesting revenue that might otherwise be directed to the originators of the material.”• However, aggregation just appears to be the online equivalent of newspapers combining content from staff, freelancers and news services – so is it really that deplorable?• If there is a need to curate content, then, obviously, the process of pulling information together becomes slightly more toilsome given the need for human intervention in deciding what material should and should not be published• Even if your work is taken by another author or website (and it is of course credited), then there is a good chance, having been credited in the rendition with a hyperlink, that you will receive additional hits from viewers surfing from one website to another• However, there is always the danger that viewers may prefer the aggregated version• There will always be debate whether or not it is ethical
Recognising the Internet as animportant tool• Tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, discussion boards, chats, podcasts and RSS feeds all provide journalists with the means to attract audiences• Publishing on the internet means content is available around the world at moment’s notice – usually at lower costs – to a much larger audience• Tracking which and how many people view your content – for example using Omniture or Chartbeat – allows journalists to realise who their audience is, and make necessary alterations to their work to capture the largest readership possible
Consequences• You are always competing against other journalists who employ similar methods in distributing their own work• Reaching a larger audience can have the opposite impact: a journalist’s work could reach many but, also, be criticised and portrayed negatively as well• Are tracking services, such as Omniture and Chartbeat, really that reliable?
Conclusions• Journalists must be quick to embrace the rapidly changing digital landscape or run the risk of being left behind• Print organisations should strive to produce different content on the online platforms than that found in the print versions of their product – podcasts, blogs etc. are all credible tools in attracting larger audiences• However, it should be recognised that smaller organisations may find it difficult – when considering the costs of retraining staff, financing separate online divisions - to meet the requirements of the digital newsroom• Journalists must continually seek to identify their audiences so that the work they produce continually captures and retains an audience• Journalists must recognise those tools that will enhance the experience of working in the digital newsroom• Journalists must recognise the need to credit others’ work when employing the process of aggregating• Journalist must realise that aggregation can work in two ways: it can hurt you; but it can also help you as well
ReferencesGrueskin, B. Seave, A. Graves, L. (2011). The Story so Far: What we knowabout the business of Digital Journalism. Available at: The Story So Far: WhatWe Know About the Business of Digital Journalism. Accessed: October2012
BibliographyThe Guardian (2011). ABCs: National daily newspaper circulation July 2011. Availableat: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2011/aug/12/abcs-national-newspapers.Accessed 17th October 2012Graves, L. and Kelly, J. (2010). Confusion Online: Faulty Metrics and the Future ofDigital Journalism. Available at:http://www.journalism.columbia.edu/system/documents/345/original/online_metrics_report.pdf. Accessed 17th October 2012Pew Research Centre Publications (2011). Internet Gains on Television as Publics MainNews Source. Available at: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1844/poll-main-source-national-international-news-internet-television-newspapers. Accessed 20th October2012Isbell, K. (2010). What’s the law around aggregating news online? Available at:http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/09/whats-the-law-around-aggregating-news-online-a-harvard-law-report-on-the-risks-and-the-best-practices/. Accessed: 24th October2012Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism (nd). The State of the News Media. Availableat: http://stateofthemedia.org/2010/special-reports-economic-attitudes/nielsen-analysis/. Accessed 24th October 2012