Journalism seems to be in a strange phase in the new age, with many claiming that its death is near and others recognizing that it is going through changes, but what does its future have in store for journalism?
Before the future though, there’s always now, and currently there seems to be a belief that journalism’s death is approaching. But, it is only a certain form of journalism that is fading out of the norm, newspaper journalism. This is occurring for the simple reason of paper becoming obsolete in an internet world. Many large newspaper companies have died in the past decades, and online news has been on the rise. Some large newspaper companies have managed to stay relevant through online news.
If journalism really were to completely die out, it would be a huge issue for the public. Since the days of colonial America journalists have served as watchdogs who exposed political figures and reported issues with our government. Journalism still retains this role in the modern day, and without it misinformation would be common and politicians would be getting away with much more.
Others believe journalism is as critical as ever. When asked, principal Gebhart, a former Journalism teacher at San Pedro High School remarks, “I do not believe that journalism is dead. Alternatively, I believe that it is more important than ever for true journalism to survive. As indicated above, many/most people seek ‘news’ that aligns with what they already believe. It is vital that there still be unbiased journalism that presents news and information without a particular “slant”, so that people can still get news that does not try to lead them to a preconceived idea.”
On the internet, journalism is more accessible than ever and pretty much anybody with a social media profile can be a journalist. The public also has even more of a role in the news than ever and many news outlets have used the internet as a way for people to send in footage of breaking news events. This age of accessibility and public importance will have a huge affect on journalism’s future.
A common belief is that the public will remove the need for big journalism companies and individuals will become the driving force in the news, but will this be a positive change? Providing the public with information without the need for the industry side of journalism. This could very well be the future of journalism and through easy access of the internet it could make information accessible to nearly everyone.
Social media and the internet’s role in journalism is not without its criticism though. Many disagree with the writing style that has come with modern journalism. Issues include that an easy access to information makes journalists less likely to care about reliable sources, there being more of an incentive for writing stories that sell rather than stories that are important, and that it is much easier for people to write about stories that they are biased towards.
Another issue for the future of news is the journalism practiced by sites like Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed is known for its use of things like clickbait, writing surface level stories, and using nonsensical quizzes and articles for the sake of getting clicks. News outlets like Buzzfeed are a huge problem for journalism.
However, those who do care about journalism are quick to criticize Buzzfeed. Considering that these people are the future of news, it isn’t likely that this form of journalism will become dominant, but it will probably always be an issue.
UK media analyst Claire Enders says there are both ups and downs to this new era of journalism, “From the perspectives of research, access and distribution, this is a wonderful time to be a journalist, as digital provides rapid and deep research techniques, excellent collaboration tools, inexpensive video and audio technologies and extraordinarily flexible and effective distribution options [however] The reputation of journalists […] has been somewhat volatile.”
Right now, journalism is mainly led by a few large companies, and beyond journalism there is only a handful of conglomerates that control 90 percent of media. This is a huge problem for journalism, because it makes it hard to find a variety of opposing views. A common issue found is local newspapers using stories written by the same “wire services”, leading to a lack of public voice.
Another possibility for the future of journalism that solves many of these problems is smaller journalism outlets that focus individually on smaller topics overtaking larger companies. This removal of monopoly in the industry of journalism would create a much larger group of diverse voices for the public. It would also allow for many more kinds of stories, keeping the important side of journalism’s role in a society while also making more entertaining articles.
“In my opinion the future of journalism will be dominated by online content, with most of that presented on platforms that offer a specific perspective. Because there are so many “niche” sites, and viewers primarily go to sites that align with their existing beliefs, most journalism will follow that pattern,” says Mr. Gebhart.
Despite all these possibilities for journalism’s future though, it is still hard to tell what journalism might become.It is easy to see the changes being made to journalism in the modern day, and although some elements of the older world of journalism, the industry is much different from how it once was. In the end it is up to future journalists to shape and utilize the internet world to create a new landscape for journalism, and to solve the many problems the industry is facing at the moment.