Five years ago, most journalists probably wouldn’t have predicted where the industry would be in 2015, what with the rise of digital media and its impact on traditional journalism.
Still, in my opinion, technology hasn’t killed journalism. It’s shaken up the media business model and ushered it into a new age – one where journalists aren’t simply responsible for storytelling but also engaging with their audiences through social media, blog posts and other mediums.
In fact, social media is dramatically shaping the way news is consumed, distributed and reported. For example, 30 percent of Americans, including myself, are increasingly turning to Facebook for news updates, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
But all these changes weren’t really “news” to the six media experts selected to join the Future of Journalism panel presented by PRSA Miami and Social Media Club South Florida in January 2015.
The diverse panel included Nancy Dahlberg, of The Miami Herald, Maria Murriel, digital editor at WLRN, Moses Shumow, an assistant professor with FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Nuria Net, digital managing editor for Fusion, Teresa Frontado, director of social media at Univision and Leonardo Marques, mobile technology expert at Verizon Wireless. The panel was moderated by Pete de la Torre of the “Pete de la Torre Business Hour.”
According to these experts, the biggest change impacting the industry today is how consumers are getting their news. Forget newspapers or desktops – news junkies are looking to their mobile devices for the latest updates. In fact, another study by the Pew Research Center found 62 percent of smartphone owners consume news on their devices.
Another shift that has impacted journalism is a renewed interest in podcasts, perhaps thanks in part to Serial, with every major news outlet jumping on the podcast train. (Take for example, New York Times, USA Today and Slate Magazine). It’s really no surprise that this trend has a direct correlation with how stories are delivered. As such, reporters are now encouraged to become more entrepreneurial in how they make their stories available, whether it be through their Twitter account or podcasts.
So what does the future hold for journalism? Almost unanimously, the panel agreed that mobile devices would continue to reign as the primary way to access and share news. But the panel was divided when one panelist boldly stated that breaking news, often considered the bread and butter of news outlets, is dying and being replaced by Twitter.
While it’s true that Twitter and other social media sites have disrupted the way news breaks, several panelists argued that information that “breaks” on social media sites isn’t considered “news” by the general public until mainstream media confirms it through valid sources.
So, while the future is still largely unknown, the one constant is that journalism itself is always changing – technology and social media are simply another part of that evolution that we all have to keep up with.