The Future of Journalism

Source: onswaziline.com
Source: onswaziline.com

This week in our Digital Media seminar class we are talking about digital journalism. You might be thinking, “What does this mean exactly? Is it the same as journaling but on a computer?” Well, you would be partially right with that assumption. Wikipedia defines digital journalism as such: “Digital journalism … is a contemporary form of journalism where editorial content is distributed via the Internet … However the primary product of journalism, … is presented solely or in combination as text, audio, video and some interactive forms.” To summarize this further, digital journalism is incorporating normal news articles with other forms of media to create one final cohesive product – and it is the future.

Source: radar.oreilly.com

Most of us can remember the good (or not so good, depending on your perspective) days in school where computers were slowly transitioning in and changing how we went about our work. For a majority of my academic career, I was only taught how to write papers. This is a wonderful skill to have, but in the age of the internet, it is missing a key component – multimedia. The methods we use to measure success seems to change very frequently. The recent measure that was used relies on page “views,” or how many people clicked on your article online to look at it. It does not measure how engaged your audience was, only that they clicked on it. As Jason Goldman, the first White House Chief Digital Officer, puts it, we are moving in a direction that relies heavily on connectedness and engagement rather than broadcasting. I think this is extremely true, and the only way to bring the masses together is through multimedia (audio, video, graphics, networking, etc).

In a recent survey, a range of professionals, managers, and educators were asked to rate the importance of multimedia skills. Shockingly, the results were a bit worrying. In a heavily media-driven world, roughly half of the managers/professionals in their field said that skills like shooting and editing video or recording audio were valuable skills to have. However, educators seem to find a much greater importance in these skills since between 70-80% of the ones asked said that multimedia skills were crucial to have. What this study tells me is the older generation, those that are ranked as “professionals” in their field, are hesitant to adopt these new skills. The educators, who are possibly of a younger generation, understand the importance of these skills and are trying to incorporate these skills into their curriculum.

Source: poynter.org

Obviously, the point behind this isn’t that we should have to choose one or the other. Those that are wanting to get into journalism should come equipped to do both jobs – writing and media. This is becoming more evident with how journalism has evolved over the past few years as well. Long gone is the age of the newspaper as writers move on to blogging as their journalistic medium. This shift in the media can be very beneficial to those who can adapt to it. It can allow bloggers to directly interact with their viewers, write about what they care about, and can allow for writers to profit directly and immediately. However, this also means that journalism is becoming more and more independent and requires writers to also have expertise in multimedia.

As digital media student who has experience in both fields, I can attest to the importance of media in the journaling world. If we want to stay relevant and be able to connect with our audience in a genuine way, media has to be a part of this. It may take some time for everyone to adjust to this as the new generation replaces the older “professionals,” but it will soon seem like the norm and it is important to keep afloat or fall behind.

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