This blog post is part of a wonderful monthly conversation among journalists of all stripes called the Carnival of Journalism, which is overseen by journalism innovator and Spot.us founder David Cohn. I’ve been wanting to play host to a CofJ, and David has graciously handed over the keys to the tent for February 2012 to the Digital News Test Kitchen and me. (Thanks, Dave!)
The rules are simple: Write a blog post answering the month’s question, below. Publish it wherever you like: your blog, Tumblr, anywhere. In the comments of this post, point to your post and leave a URL. On Twitter, post a tweet about your item and include the hashtag #jcarn and a link. The deadline is Friday, February 24. Publish your post in the days just before, then I’ll do a traditional roundup post the following Monday. (Here’s the official explanation of how this Carnival thing works.) –Steve Outing, Digital News Test Kitchen, University of Colorado Boulder
And your question is! …
“What emerging technology or digital trend do you think will have a significant impact on journalism in the year or two ahead? And how do you see it playing out in terms of application by journalists, and impact?”
I work in a university journalism program, and my focus is largely on answering that question. Of course, I work around faculty and students who have mixed feelings about the overly fast pace of technological change, and how it’s changing journalism practice and the news industry. Some of my colleagues — and I bet it’s the same for you — might rather focus on the craft and theory of journalism; the technology that’s swirling around them and upsetting their world is an unwanted distraction. Other colleagues are immersed in the possibilities and opportunities that emerging digital technologies present. (Our Center for Media, Religion, & Culture recently hosted a Digital Religion conference, for example.)
I must admit, I don’t have much sympathy for those in journalism today (whether working professionally or in academia) who would like to put their heads in the sand in order not to hear about yet another technology development that’s going to alter their world. As I see it, technological developments of the last 15 years (the era of the “commercial Internet”) have upended journalism, all but destroyed old news business models, and put thousands of journalists out of work. Overall, we now have less investigative reporting and public-affairs journalism. And the loss of soldiers in the journalistic army means there are more chances for corruption to go unnoticed and unchecked.
Who’s to blame? The answer is clear to me: Journalists and those who manage news organizations. Our industry and profession didn’t act quickly or aggressively enough to adapt to the way that new technologies would change journalism.
But I’m a digital optimist. Technology also has presented incredible opportunities to improve journalism. Thousands and thousands of my journalism colleagues embrace the emerging technologies and work hard to figure out how to leverage them to keep the public better informed and get individual citizens involved in the news process and the conversation of news. It’s all good … except for the pesky fact that we have a lot of lost ground to make up for, and need to put more journalists to work in the new, digital-first news environment.
So what’s my point?: That this month’s Carnival question is not just about the latest gadgets. It’s not just the obvious question from a gadget freak who buys the latest iPhone whenever a new model comes out. It’s an important question, and your answers can play a role in making sure that news practitioners and executives, and journalism academics, understand how important it is for journalists and news industry leaders to understand what’s coming at them next — so they’re not caught blind-sided, again.
I’ll close by telling you about a lecture I attended a few days ago at the University of Colorado Law School, sponsored by its Silicon Flatirons program. Liberty Media executive Michael Zeisser gave what I thought was an insightful talk, “15 Years of Consumer Internet Industry: What (if anything) have we learned?”
Zeisser, who is an acquisitions expert for Liberty Media specializing in identifying established consumer Internet companies with long-term futures, is a “student of the Internet.” Among his principal observations is that about every THREE YEARS, there is a major paradigm shift within the Internet industry that often topples the existing industry leaders and replaces them with new companies that can better leverage the new technology paradigm. A new emerging technology sweeps onto the scene to dominate the Internet industry, setting the unprepared companies from the previous paradigm on a downward spiral. To hear Zeisser describe it, the Internet industry is a very tough one to survive in for long.
If you consider that technology companies tend to move quickly, especially in comparison to news and media companies, you can understand why the latter have had so much trouble adapting to the digital age over the last decade and a half: The ground keeps shifting under their feet!
To my mind, one of the most important things you can do as a journalist, news-industry leader, or journalism academic is work to understand the emerging technologies that are heading your way, about to upset your industry and field once again.
I look forward to your answers to my question, and the ensuing discussion!
I agree that journalists have been to slow to react to new media. They have to monetize somehow or the era of investigative journalism will be over. Some newspaper websites are doing well - the Daily Mail in the UK - and hopefully with paid newspaper apps they'll be able to recoup some ground.
Technologically the media rushed to adapt to mobile versions, since these media consumption is growing worldwide, but still are recent impact studies of tablets and phones in public. At the user level will be strengthened social networks, and that citizens have realized the power of networks to deliver their message. Every citizen becomes a journalist, who no longer has a monopoly on the news. To the journalist who dreams of working in a traditional medium I see dark the issue as more layoffs coming closure of newspapers, especially writing. The journalist must reinvent, for big reason for going beyond the journalism: The analog world is in decline, and tomorrow will be dominated by the bytes and the information, where the interdisciplinary ethos seems to be the driver of the knowledge and perhaps the internet is so pervasive, that some might draw analogies, for example with the theory the ropes, explains that the principle of all particles are not isolated, but states "vibrational", which in the case of the digital world we see that each "vibration technology," resounds in all levels of human cognition, from the the little two year old having fun with your Iphone to the concerted action of a group of consumers who can protest against McDonald's in Seattle, but his voice resound in the mind of a blogger from India which will replicate the state "vibrational" as happened with the flutter of a butterfly which explained the falling markets in Asia in the early 90's ... today are digital world. Traditional journalism is in crisis, and the journalist must reinvent itself or disappear...
Eduardo Riveros Quiróz firstname.lastname@example.org