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EXCERPTED FROM The Basics of Media Writing: A Strategic Approach by Scott A. Kuehn and Andrew Lingwall (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2016)
Interviews are semiformal interpersonal communication situations–part conversation and part interrogation. Unlike everyday one-on-one communication, interviews should be planned, with questions thought out before discussion takes place. As a journalist, you should be prepared to lead your subject through a series of questions to obtain the information you seek. […]
All interviews contain an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction occurs as you and the source greet each other. Rapport-building small talk helps set the subject at ease, so plan a few conversation starters ahead of time: the weather, results of recent sports events, or major news topics of interest in the local area. Through careful observation of your subject during small talk, you can also determine whether he or she is likely to be cooperative or evasive and get a sense of how much time you may have for your questions.
The question-and-answer section formed the body of the interview. Ask a question or two based on your story research, and then let your source speak for a while. Open your eyes and your mind and absorb what he or she is saying. Take notes and ask the sourceto slow down or restate anything you didn’t get at first. Think ahead to your next question, and other new ones that may arise, but resist the temptation to jump in with them too quickly. Often, sources will make some of the most important statements near the beginning of the interview. When you sense that your source has finished answering the question or is drifting too far from it, it’s time to ask your next question
Types of Interview Questions
Many reporters find it useful to begin their interviews with more general, less challenging questions and then proceed to more specific challenging questions. The best approach depends on the situation. In general, reporters have three basic types of interview questions.
The closed-ended question seeks brief answers like confirmation of a date, time, address, or some other objective response. For example,
- Where were you when the tornado occurred?
- Did you get a look at the man who stole the car?
- What time did you see the plane go down?
- What is your name and address?
Closed-ended questions are easy to answer and often work very well to move a subject into a deeper line of conversation.
The open-ended question allows the subject to give details and perspective and long answers. They are most useful for uncovering descriptions and explanations. For example,
- Can you describe how this wedding gown is made?
- How was the dog behaving just before it bit the neighbor?
- What inspires you to run so many marathons?
- Which organic ingredients are used in this skin care line?
Subjects have to think a bit more to answer open-ended questions, so be patient as they answer. A healthy mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions works well for most interviews
Reporters use probing questions to seek additional information from their subjects. A subject may tell you only part of what he or she knows. Ask probing questions to gather more details. Probes are not usually planned. Reporters learn this technique through experience and use it to ask follow-up questions.
In general, there are three types of probes. Clarification probes ask for verification and precise detail. They are usually closed-ended questions. Amplification probes seek out more in-depth explanations of events and issues, and usually consist of open-ended questions. Silent probes work well when you hear someone give a description or make a statement and then pause. In this case, patiently wait for the subject to resume talking and listen carefully to what he or she says next. Subjects often naturally want to fill in silence spaces with more explanation. This is precisely when some of your most valuable information may emerge
THEMES AFFECTING JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION
ADAPTED FROM: JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION – Vol. I – Evolution of Journalism and Mass Communication by Kathleen L. Endres
In most developed countries, journalism and mass communication are just the staples of modern life. Newspapers and magazines bring the news of the world as well as the amusements of the day to the doorstep. Radio news and talk programs update the listener at the workplace, in the car, in the home, everywhere. Television links sound with pictures during the regularly scheduled news broadcasts or at any time in the event of breaking news. One click on a web site takes the browser across the world to download a story, a radio program, a song, or a snippet of the latest motion picture. In developed countries, journalism and the many, many messages of mass communication have led to the malaise of modern society—“information overload.” Citizens in developed countries have so much to read, hear, see, and click that it is difficult to process all the information.
Journalism and mass communication are not as plentiful in developing countries. Nonetheless, journalism and mass communication are important to the economic, social, political, and cultural lives of these nations. Some governments attempt to control the content of news and the messages transmitted in the media. Other governments see journalism and mass communication as important partners in economic, political, and social progress of their nations. These governments see journalism and mass communication as allies to progress, ways to educate the population about life, politics, culture, and the economy in a modern world. Still others see the media as a means of cultural domination by the West.
Whether journalism and mass communication are taken for granted—as is the case in the developed countries—or are seen as allies to progress or things to be controlled—as is the case in many of the developing countries—they remain important influences in the social, economic, and political lives of the people in today’s world.
2. Themes Affecting Journalism and Mass Communication
The history of journalism and mass communication is a complicated story. It is written in the history of every country. It is intertwined with the evolution of each culture. It touches the life of every person. From this complex tale emerge five themes.
One theme is technological. Through the centuries, technical innovations—some directly related to journalism and mass communication, others touching on the media only tangentially—have brought increased speed to production and information delivery, reduced costs, improved accuracy, or transformed/improved the product. The technological innovations have not been limited to one country or one culture. All have contributed to the technological state of today’s media.
The second theme deals with ownership patterns. When journalism began, anyone affluent enough to hire a scribe or, later, buy a printing press could run a newspaper or magazine. As technology improved, the price tag for production, programming, and distribution increased. Because the cost of production, programming, and/or distribution increased so dramatically, fewer and fewer could afford to purchase and run newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations. Thus, the ownership of the media was concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. In the nineteenth century, journalism and mass communication had become big business in many developed countries. For example, in the United States, the Hearst Corp. and Scripps–Howard, still key media corporations, trace their roots to this time. The twentieth century brought a further concentration of media ownership. Corporations or government agencies now control most of the largest circulating newspapers, and the biggest radio stations, television networks, and programming production houses in the developed world. Digital technology may change this trend. As prices of personal computers and access to the Internet decrease, more individuals can—and do—publish electronically nationally and internationally.
The third theme revolves around the defined audience for the media. Centuries ago, only the literate, moneyed elite could afford the newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines; but technology changed that too. With advances in print technology, the price of newspapers and magazines came down. At the same time, changes to layout, design, and writing style made newspapers and magazines more visually appealing, more readable, and more popular with larger numbers of the reading public. Newspapers and magazines truly became forms of mass communication. The “new media” of radio, television, and the movies had enormous popular appeal from their beginnings. However, technology could also take away. By the end of the twentieth century, bigger was not necessarily better. Media researchers, programmers, and advertisers saw technology as a means to reach smaller, “better,” more segmented, affluent audiences. Thus, because of technology, the potential audience of journalism and mass communication has gone from a small moneyed elite to a “mass” audience to a segmented audience, grouped by interest, socio-economic, demographic, and psychographic factors.
Technology also weaves its way through the fourth theme that marked the evolution of journalism and mass communication: the movement toward professionalism. When journalism first began, there were no real performance standards for reporters and editors. The first editors/journalists were little more than propagandists for one particular point of view or political party. They were technicians, individuals trained in the technology current in the day; scribes when newsletters were handwritten; printers when newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets were hand set. As technology became more complex in the nineteenth century, the craft of production split from the content function. It was only then that the editors/journalists could and did slowly develop some of the standards commonly associated with journalism in the developed countries today. Over time, accuracy, fairness, and objectivity became accepted standards in much of the developed world where there is a free exchange of information. Journalists/editors have not always met those standards. In times of war, patriotism and a concern for public morale sometimes curtailed telling the whole story.
During an election, a reporter’s personal views of a candidate or a political party could and did creep into a news story, although not necessarily intentionally. In times of instantaneous reporting and extreme competition, journalists sometimes got the story first—but not necessarily fully or accurately. It is little wonder that the public has become more skeptical of journalism in particular and mass communication in general. That skepticism seems ironic given the changes that have taken place in the training of journalists. Once requiring little more than an ability to write clearly, energy to report the story, and a generally affable personality, journalists are now better trained than ever before. Most journalists entering the field today have university/college educations or special journalistic training. The move toward better education can be seen across the media field. Media executives to technicians all have advanced training to help them deal with the challenges of journalism and mass communication in the twenty-first century.
Finally, opportunities are opening for minorities in journalism and mass communication. When journalism and mass communication began, it was a closed society. Individuals who owned printing presses taught their families the trade and took in others as apprentices. Female relatives and slaves owned by the printer’s family learned the trade, but with the split between the production and editing function, and changes in social expectations, fewer women and minorities were allowed in. Although today males from the dominant cultural/ethnic group of the nation still predominate, diversity in the journalistic workplace is seen as a benefit. By the end of the twentieth century, many media corporations and arms of government that control mass communication are at least articulating the importance of diversity in the newsroom and in entertainment programming, and are beginning to hire from different populations, but primarily on the lower levels. Diverse leadership and ownership in the media continue to be rare.
(Edited for length. Original here.)
— Read on courses.yellowbrick.co/topic/a-framework-for-modern-journalism-fundamental-themes/
THE CHALLENGES OF THE MODERN JOURNALIST – INSIGHTS FROM BUSINESS WIRE’S 2020 MEDIA SURVEY
BY RAISA ACLOQUE, BUSINESS WIRE, APRIL 14, 2021
Breaking news. Live videos. Social media updates. Push notifications. 24/7 news cycles. We’re more informed now than we’ve ever been. We have unlimited choices to consume news. But, as modern journalists work around the clock, how are they facing the industry’s biggest challenges?
Digital Transformation has been described as the “golden era for journalism.” It has offered journalists a full range of storytelling formats. Society is better informed now than ever before and great journalism is being produced with a heightened focus on media accuracy to feed the overall growth of knowledge consumption. But Digital Transformation has also accelerated issues in the industry, such as the downfall of traditional media and mass unemployment, profound distrust in members of the press, and unexpected technology challenges. Even though journalists are no strangers to unforeseen circumstances, 2020 hit them with more uncertainty following the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic.
Our 2020 global media survey allowed us to dig deeper into the modern challenges that journalists face today and how they are rising above the noise in this digital age.
Lack of Trust in News
Traditionally, journalists have been considered gatekeepers. They report the news objectively to the masses, while leaving their own beliefs and opinions behind once they enter the newsroom. However, in today’s society, the idea that journalists act as gatekeepers has been questioned.
Our survey revealed that 46% of journalists see a lack of trust in the news as the biggest challenge in modern journalism. This represents a significant threat to the value of media. It keeps the door open for bias in news coverage and for the “fake news” narrative to feed on the crisis of confidence in the journalism industry. This matter corresponds with Americans’ distrust in the media, which hit an all-time high record of 33% in 2020. Unfortunately, it has continued to rise in the last decade and shows no signs of decreasing.
This distrust in media is also attached to various unsolved industry difficulties – the increased pressure on journalists for an on-demand, 24/7 news cycle, newsrooms facing a shortage of revenues and resources, and the discourse of disinformation and misinformation on social media. As one of our surveyed reporters said: “The internet, being the way it is, means people do a two-minute research on YouTube and think they know more than an article with tons of evidence and credibility.”
Unstable Job Market
It is not surprising that 30% of our respondents said that job security was one of the most challenging aspects of being a journalist nowadays. Moreover, 35% of respondents believed the news industry would provide no job security for the next five years.
2019 brought both digital and print media several rounds of layoffs, furloughs, and closures. Entire publications also ceased to exist, and many journalism careers ended. By the beginning of 2020, the media industry had already lost 8,000 jobs. A few of our surveyed journalists shared how they have experienced the turbulence of the industry. One respondent said news staff cuts represented “having to do the work of laid-off staff with less compensation and zero freelance budgets,” while another respondent stated, “lack of resources [and needing to] overwork due to fewer employees” as immediate challenges.
It’s important to keep in mind that when newsrooms permanently shed jobs, a journalist might lose several sources of income. One survey respondent lost two reporting jobs near retirement stating, “Two publications I wrote for went out of business – one local newspaper, and [the other one a] business publication.” […]
Balancing the Digital Landscape
As journalists are asked to do more in the digital realm with fewer resources, around 28% of our survey respondents said that adapting to new technology and formats has been another challenge of modern journalism.
Social media has changed the face of journalism forever. As mentioned in our blog post about journalism and social media, 53% of U.S. adults get their news across varying platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Even so, reporters have a love-hate relationship with social media.
These platforms have become the battleground for the “fake news” phenomenon. Unreliable news sources such as clickbait and propaganda as well as manipulation technologies like synthetic media (known as deep fakes, shallow fakes and speech synthesis) continue to fuel the distrust of reality.
This has resulted in journalists countering the perception that they are the “enemy of the people” as they work harder on debunking false stories, intensely verifying the accuracy and credibility of their sources. For instance, the Associated Press’ initiative “Not Real News: A look at what didn’t happen this week” publishes weekly roundups exposing untrue stories and visuals.
Furthermore, overworked and overwhelmed journalists have added “managing the digital landscape” to their resumes. Now, they’re leveraging on engagement metrics, optimizing search engines, producing social-only coverage, and overseeing community boards to ensure their content is viewed, liked, and shared by as many people as possible.
Regarding this issue, a respondent in the B2B industry shared that journalism is not really “just journalism” anymore. Instead “It’s content marketing, audience development, website management/SEO, project management, and event development as well. You cannot survive in [the] field of trade publications if you’re putting out a newsletter once a week and that’s it.”
The Reality of News Deserts
As shared in our Current State of the Media blog post, the decrease or absence of local news sources is considered another challenging aspect of modern journalism by 22% of our surveyed reporters.
A respondent commented, “The absence of local news has been bad for my community and state.” Another expressed that the journalism industry can no longer “[sustain] a financially viable business.” So, what is at stake when losing thousands of local newspapers? UNC’s The Expanding News Desert report states people with the least access to local news are often the most vulnerable – the poorest, least educated, and most isolated.
The collapse of hyperlocal journalism represents lost access to information on community issues and local government. In an era of fake news, the diminishment of local newspapers poses yet another threat to the long-term vitality of communities. The UNC report also reveals that many state and regional newspapers have reduced coverage to their core metropolitan markets, abandoning rural and outlying suburban areas. As a result, between 1,300 and 1,400 communities that had newspapers of their own between 2004 and 2018 now have no news coverage at all.
All in all, it seems the fates of audiences and news organizations are intertwined – there must be a balance across social, economic, and digital. News content comes in print, broadcast, and online formats, but, most importantly, must reach local, regional, and national levels. Strong journalism and a mindful society are the much-needed backbone to help implement a sound industry model that strengthens trust in media.
(Edited for length. Original here.)
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM
We are at the beginning of another revolutionary era in communication. Digital products like streaming videos and e-books seemed like remote possibilities in the 1990s, but consumer habits have shifted dramatically as technology advanced. While successful entrepreneurs can’t always predict the changes in store for the media industry, they can focus on the potential unleashed by digital technology. As a former managing editor for commodities at Dow Jones Newswires, Terry Wooten identified the kinds of trends that would move markets. In this case study, Wooten discusses how new digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are transforming the way organizations practice journalism.
As commodities editor for the Dow Jones Newswires and two other financial newswires, I and my staff of reporters were always looking ahead, trying to anticipate what would move markets. Although I am not an expert prognosticator, I did learn that sometimes what develops may surprise you. That is because, even at our most creative, we tend to imagine incremental change, instead of transformative change.
Take, for example, the Speed Graphic camera, which was standard issue for press photographers from the early 1900s through the late-1950s. Next came the new and improved 35 mm cameras, commonplace in newsrooms until very recently. Today, the “camera” used by many journalists is the smart phone, which shoots video, as well as still photos, and can be used to record interviews, take notes and connect reporters in the field with editors and sources alike. In other words, this most recent iteration of the “camera” not only transformed the way we think about photography, but also how we go about gathering and disseminating news.
Terry Wooten, former managing editor at Dow Jones Newswires.
It used to take a while for a new technology to be widely adopted. But, with the advent of the digital revolution, the pace of change has accelerated as both new and old technologies are adapted for multiple uses. In medieval times, town criers were the chief means of news communication. Royal proclamations, local bylaws, market days and advertisement of goods were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier moving through the area. Gutenberg changed all that with his introduction of the printing press and movable type to Europe in the 15th century, which brought about the rise of the publishing industry. Next came the broadcast era and the introduction of over-the-air delivery of news in the 20th century. By the late 1990s, 98 percent of U.S. homes had at least one television set, and those sets were on for an average of more than seven hours a day. However, the stage was already set for the most disruptive technological innovation yet. The binary code that powered the digital revolution – a string of zeros and ones – would transform and reshape the media landscape in the 21st century. […]
Scientists, analysts and commentators differ on whether technology will continue its rapid development or whether growth will slow. Some academic economists believe that we have incorporated all the “easy” technological advances and that new breakthroughs will be more difficult, writes Ben Miller in Innovation Files.
No matter the speed of change, all types of news media – including print, broadcast and digital – will continue to be confronted with new opportunities and challenges as they attempt to adapt to emerging technologies. These technologies include artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, 3-D printing and blockchain.
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a series of algorithms that allow a computer to “think like a human.” AI is the backbone of the internet and is already in extensive use guiding our decisions. For example, algorithms determine what Amazon shows us when we want to make a purchase online. Google, Twitter and Facebook use algorithms to determine which content appears in front of its users.
The AI industry is expected to expand by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50 percent through 2015, when it is projected to be a $127 billion industry, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum. Some news organizations, including the Associated Press and Washington Post, are using AI to identify data for complex articles about financial transactions, for example. Others are experimenting with using AI to produce simple business and sports articles from the data in corporate earnings reports or game statistics.
AI also powers robots, such as drones, which are being used by many media outlets, as well as first responders and insurance companies, to get images from locations that are difficult to reach on the ground. Robots and AI can also be incorporated into the manufacturing and distribution processes of news organizations to increase the efficiency of publishing news articles and optimizing a medium’s reach.
What does the future hold? According to one timeline laid out by the World Economic Forum, by 2049, we may be reading a New York Times best-seller generated by AI. However, there are still challenges to be surmounted in the widespread use of algorithms and robotics in media companies. Among the challenges: a lack of the sort of “rich data” that allows machines to determine patterns and draw accurate conclusions, the ability to verify the reliability of machine-generated conclusions and the upfront financial investment. All of these challenges may limit the widespread adoption of AI and robotics in smaller news organizations. Nevertheless, Tod Loofbourrow, a former artificial intelligence instructor at Harvard and the CEO of ViralGains, predicted in an article for the online trade magazine Digiday, “We’re at the very beginning of a 20-year megatrend” in which publishers and marketers will make increasing use of AI to learn about individual consumers’ preferences.
Virtual Reality: Many baby boomers first met Virtual Reality (VR) through an obsession with “Star Trek.” That television series introduced the concept of the “holodeck” – an enclosed space where characters in the series could create holographic settings and stage “events” that seemed real. VR is an interactive, computer-generated artificial environment. The simplest form is a 3-D image on a personal computer that can be manipulated with a mouse, allowing users to zoom in or out, or view the image from multiple vantage points. More sophisticated efforts involve headgear with wrap-around display screens and actual rooms augmented with wearable computers. Virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound. Haptic devices – such as suits, gloves and joysticks – add the sensation of touch and allow the user to feel the images as well.
VR is used extensively in art, music, film, video games, as well as in advertising. Large news organizations, such as The New York Times, have also incorporated VR into their daily news streams. The Times has produced more than two dozen films and documentaries enhanced with VR and introduced a series called Daily 360, which produces video from places around the world, including battle zones. The VR films can be watched on Google Cardboard or with smartphone apps.
“VR is great for creating a sense of place,” explained deputy video editor Marcelle Hopkins in a 2017 New York Times interview. “We often use it for stories in which the place is important to the story. … VR can transport our audience to places they otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t go, as in ‘The Antarctica Series,’ which takes people below and above the ice of Antarctica.”
In a similar vein, augmented reality is a set of technologies that superimpose digital data and images on the physical world. AR is already used extensively in social media and is also being utilized in conjunction with VR in large news organizations, such as The New York Times. Incorporating both VR and AR into daily news feeds requires a “significant change of thinking” and a significant investment in technology, D’Vorkin said. Therefore, cost is a key barrier to wider adoption of these two technologies in smaller news outlets. […]
Blockchain: Of all the new and emerging technologies, blockchain is perhaps the least understood and least exploited by media companies. Most of us know blockchain as the technology that enables cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, to be traded on the internet. Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. It fosters a new generation of transactional applications that establish accountability and transparency for contracts, deeds, payments. As a result, blockchain technology is already being used widely in in many business and industry sectors. In the media space, there are several interesting start-ups using blockchain. For example, The Colorado Sun news outlet was started recently by former Denver Post editorial staffers using a blockchain format.Technology consultant MarketsandMarkets forecasts the overall use of blockchain in media, advertising and entertainment markets to grow from $51 million in 2018 to $1 billion by 2023. That’s a compound annual increase rate of 81 percent.
Blockchain-enabled applications can improve the distribution and production of content, help prevent illegal file sharing, and enable transparent rights management.Publica is a free blockchain publishing platform that allows authors of books to manage how their work is distributed, and how they’re compensated for it. Po.et is building a universal, blockchain-based licensing and payment platform that allows journalists and other content providers to set up a profile displaying their work and also establish direct channels with interested publishers. “Blockchain technology and the Po.et platform sanction a new network effect to not be ‘owned’ by a single entity but maintained by the collective owners of the content itself,” wrote Jarrod Dicker, the company’s CEO and a former Washington Post executive, in a recent blog post.
What does this mean for the future of journalism?
In this ever-changing landscape, perhaps the late science fiction writer Isaac Asimov summed it up best, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without considering not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”
How then will journalism schools and departments at universities and colleges teach journalists of the future? According to Dr. Will Norton, dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, no medium goes out of existence, but legacy media change as technological developments bring a new medium into existence.
“New media are changing language and thought processes,” Norton said. “They have democratized the reporting process and made it more difficult to identify facts because anybody can use them, and highly-skilled professional reporters are not the only persons doing important media work.”
Journalism or media education tries to teach reporting, writing, speaking and design in a manner similar to the principles of the early proponents of the discipline of rhetoric, Norton said. He said the skills taught should be appropriate to all media.
“When journalism education has focused on a [single] medium, it has been weakened,” he said. “We have to keep from focusing on one medium or another as media develops. We have to focus on what always has prepared folk to be good journalists – get the facts and communicate them well.”
Or, as the CEO Paul Daugherty, co-author of the book Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, explains: communication is both an art form and a science. At a 2018 virtual gathering of executives from various industries sponsored by Fortune, he focused on the sort of skills companies will need in the age of AI. “It isn’t necessarily the STEM skills, and it isn’t necessarily the coders and machine learning specialists. . . . Tere is one new set of jobs where people will need to help AI, to help the machines, and we call these ‘trainers, explainers and sustainers’ . . . . We have been hiring people like sociologists, psychologists and even poetry majors who really understand the nuance of language and can help train the engineers and the machines.”
(Edited for length. Original here.)
HOW TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM
The field of journalism is changing rapidly. Desktops have been replaced by laptops and notebook computers. The internet has created vast new sources of content linked around the world. News organizations like the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times have started to use artificial intelligence to generate automated content, tag digital text, and reformat articles.
As technology advances, news outlets continue to rely on journalists to cover everything from breaking news to local events, including forums on public policy, board of education meetings, and elections. Technology may be shaping the future of journalism, but it won’t replace the need for qualified, experienced reporters.
Technology is also creating a need for writers and editors who are able and willing to adapt to changes in the industry. If you aspire to pursue a career in journalism, enrolling in an online Bachelor of Arts in English program can help you augment your writing techniques, hone your ability to analyze data, and enhance your communication skills.
Here’s an overview of trends that are shaping the future of journalism and how those in the field can use them to enhance their careers.
The Role of Data and AI in the Future of Magazines, Newspapers, and Other Media Outlets
The incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) into the news reporting process could help future magazine publishers and newsrooms work more efficiently. AI platforms can be used to help journalists fact-check in real time and generate automated news coverage. Journalism is also benefiting from AI technology since it largely involves gathering and analyzing datasets to determine if a story exists. The trend is a lot more mainstream than one might think.
In March 2018, it was reported that Reuters was building a tool aimed at helping journalists analyze data and suggest story ideas. That product, Lynx Insight, has since been rolled out to newsrooms across the globe. Magazines are also starting to embrace the AI for data journalism model.
Yet those interested in becoming reporters should know that, while AI can assist with content creation, it cannot substitute for human reporting. For example, Reuters’ Lynx Insight does not replace reporters, but instead is designed to sort through data to spot patterns, and allow human staff to ask questions and understand context.
Human journalists are skilled in developing relationships with sources, providing in-depth analysis of data, and determining whether a given topic is newsworthy — all of which AI simply cannot do.
The Impact of Podcasts, Social Media, and ‘Brand Journalism’
New media storytelling platforms such as podcasts and social media have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, and these channels will likely become even more important in the future of journalism.
Recent data from Edison Research and Triton Digital states podcasting has grown to having 51% of Americans 12+ listened to a podcast, with 32% having listened in the past month.
The growth trajectory of podcast consumption is steep; according to a report by Inc., National Public Radio (NPR) has indicated that roughly half of the potential audience base for podcasts still doesn’t know this type of media exists. As media outlets increase their efforts to market their audio content, the need for journalists who can produce it could continue to grow.
Social media platforms are also shaping trends in journalism, as a growing number of newsrooms are using Facebook and Twitter to break stories in real time. Reporters who have adapted to social media’s influence on news gathering and reporting have found they’re better able to communicate with their audiences. Those interested in pursuing this career path will need to be comfortable embracing trends and changes in social media platforms as they emerge.
The future of this field is also being shaped by brand journalism, which is a mix of corporate communications, public relations, and content marketing. Brand journalists focus on content such as blog posts, online articles, social media stories, and email blasts that highlight a company’s value. These types of stories encourage readers to learn more about an organization’s products or offerings, and are unlikely to include anything negative about the company.
Blockchain as a Means of Combating Fake News
Best known for enabling the exchange of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, blockchain-based systems could also provide a number of benefits in the future of journalism. Specifically, this emerging technology could eventually help newsrooms build public trust while increasing financial sustainability, according to the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR).
Individuals and organizations can use blockchains to permanently store and track records of online transactions and digital communications. Information within a blockchain system can be easily authenticated and tracked back to its source, making it easier for readers to verify that a given story was published by its stated author, potentially helping prevent the spread of hoax news articles. Blockchain-powered content could also create new ways for journalists to charge for premium content using microtransactions, CJR reports.
(Edited for length. Original here.)