There’s nothing journalists like more than predicting the death of the industry. They’ve been doing it for decades, from the invention of the printing press to the influx of the iPad, and every technological advance in between. Here at ScribbleLive, we know that technology isn’t killing journalism: it’s helping it survive.
David Glance from the University of Western Austrailia wrote a piece about crowdsourcing — and its place in the future of news — for The Conversation, a site that provides analysis and commentary from the university and research sector. It starts with the typical gloom about reduced print revenues, but offers a glimpse of hope for news innovators. Glance writes:
“For editors, journalists and the customers, the problem has been that the nature of news and the relationship between the producers and consumers has fundamentally changed. News is no longer produced for a passive audience to consume. As mentioned previously, 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented on it or shared it with others. Information sourced from social media, blogs and video sites often makes its way into reporting.
“The issue with revenue can’t be tackled without first adapting news organisations to these changes.”
Last week ScribbleLive interviewed future of news guru Jeff Jarvis, who noted that news doesn’t start when the reporters arrive on scene. It starts with the witnesses, who, more and more, are armed with tools that allow them to contribute. If you’re not monitoring what they’re saying, you’re missing an important part of the story (and you’re allowing your competition to beat you to the scoop).
Some companies have already figured this out, Glance notes. He points to ScribbleLive client Al Jazeera, who he says is “probably the leader in its use of technology and social media to report, interact and incorporate content with and from the public…It utilises live blogs to report on rapidly changing events such as the Egyptian protests. It uses Flickr to share images and ScribbleLive to write, edit and share collaborative content.”
“Al Jazeera has adapted to working with citizen journalists,” he writes. “Ultimately, the entire organisation is working in this way, a key differentiator between organisations that will succeed in the digital world and those that will fail.”
In other words, adapt or die.