The debate over the future of journalism and the news is ongoing. I fully believe that journalism is NOT dying. Instead, we have entered a new era of journalism where the flow of information and communication has significantly changed, especially with the addition of social media to the scene.
The DLD 2013 Future of Authority Conference brought important speakers to discuss the changing role of journalism. One such prolific speaker was, Jeff Jarvis, current Professor and Director of the CUNY Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. Jarvis articulated, “There is a new flow of information that doesn’t need a mediator. Social media is a platform that enables people to do what they want to do, not what is dictated to them. In this sense, journalists are added value to the process and must become both platform and relationship builders.”
Largely because of the new digital environment and the platform created by social media, this new flow of information incorporates what is become known as networked or citizen/user journalism. Dean Starkman, summarizes in his Future-of-News consensus, “there is now a network-driven system of journalism in which news organizations will play a decreasingly important role. Within this interconnected world, boundaries between storyteller and audience dissolve into a conversation between equal parties through social media.”
Evidently, the ends, ways and means of journalism are evolving. Some argue that this evolution is hurting journalists and the news; others see this evolution as an opportunity. I adhere to this opportunistic view. Monica Guzman, 2016 Nieman Fellow and writer for the American Press Institute perfectly encapsulates this opportunity in her article, The best ways to build audience and relevance by listening to and engaging your community:
“People have access to vast and varied information. They pursue news on their own time, and on their own terms, connecting with others who share and help satisfy their curiosity about their world. This presents an opportunity for news publishers strained by shrinking resources and growing competition: Now more than ever, journalists can engage their audiences as contributors, advisors, advocates, collaborators and partners.”
Social tools that encourage and cater for this user-centric journalism will continue to gain prominence. A prime example for this is live video journalism. Advantageous of live video include: flexibility, one person operation, transportability, unfiltered information, real time news and engaging. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are already competing in this growing social tool. On an article analyzing Facebook Live, Julia Greenberg from Wired writes: “Facebook has a real opportunity to showcase breaking news, intimate personal moments, and behind-the-scenes stories from just about anywhere in a way that surpasses TV networks.”
To me, this exemplifies the exact nature of future journalism, digital social tools providing the ways and means for users and journalists alike to both contribute to a connected and networked discussion and dissemination of information and news.