The profession of journalism has changed dramatically over the years and jobs in this field are much different today than they were a few decades ago. The internet has been the biggest disrupter of the media environment with a decline in traditional media channels like newspapers and there blowing a competitive breeze between traditional ways of news circulation and modern ones like internet, social media, blogs and digital media.
The 5 notable changes in journalism over the years are---1. COMPETITION FOR CLICKS-There has come an advertiser-based payment model of online journalism which has created a sensationalized media environment in which respected news outlets compete for clicks with independent, not very proper content providers. Major newspapers and TV networks make blunders under pressure to publish more and more nice stories about politicians and public figures. There are hyperlinked headlines to bait readers into clicking on stories having inaccurate content.
2. RUSH TO PUBLISH-When a news outlet becomes the first source to publish an important story it gets credit and recognition for breaking the news. In the 24-hour online news cycle, journalists are under pressure to break major stories before anyone else can get them. And if the news content is unedited and not checked for mistakes, it can lead to defaming and development of wrong notions about the respective news outlets.
3. DONATION-BASED PAYMENTS-The journalists of today are dependent on social media and obliged to take part in online political polarization to reach a proper segment of audience. A journalist with a large online following is not dependent on newspapers, networks or other media outlets for employment. Direct support from readers by payment channels like PayPal, Patreon, Bitcoin enable journalists to work independently and build trust with their readers.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA-Journalists can choose to cover many topics that are not related to politics but major news outlets mix political advocacy with the showcasing of every topic. From sports, music, business and technology subjects without any connection to politics become politicized as social media becomes more and more polarized. Now journalists rely on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to reach their audiences and maintain professional reputations.
5. POLITICIZATION-The most recent change in journalism is the politicization of reporting on virtually every topic. Political polarization is one part of the evolution of journalism in a postmodern industry of relativity and subjective truth. Political news section will be an inescapable field for future journalists and journalism.
The internet has changed journalism giving it positive and negative points to work on and see. Social media has also broadened the purview of journalism and given it a new angle.
The internet has not only changed the method and purpose of journalism but also people’s perception of news media. There has been a shift of balance of power between journalism and the audience and the rise of a more self-conscious audience, both as producers and consumers of content which has altered the landscape of journalism.
There have been two largest changes in modern journalism. The rise of blogger and user-based journalism which has become very popular amongst both new and old media companies and it is a change that has altered the definition of a journalist. And the presence of the internet has given rise to content aggregators like Google News that no longer rely on individual journalists to provide news but instead depend on their ability to gather and collect information in a single location where users can access it. And together they are altering society’s traditional ideas of news and journalism.
Journalism in a word is dynamic. The norms of newspaper readership have changed as now digital has become the buzzword around and into journalism. Now the internet has brought in a bag of goodies for people who can rely on a faster, one-click system to get the desired news that they want as easily as possible. Now many news companies now try to actively integrate multimedia components like video, links or photos into almost every story. In addition to these new methods of news consumption, the ability to create and self-publish news is now in the hands of anyone with an internet connection which has created a new dynamic between traditional news sources and citizen journalists.
The most important contributor to the field of journalism is the audience. Citizen journalism has become a crucial part of many existing news networks and independent news sites have been launched for the inclusion of tech-savvy, news-hungry citizens. Because of technological inventions and the rise of participatory journalism the relationship between a news source and its audience has changed from a lecture to a conversation.
1. Cheap advanced digital cameras and camcorders.
2. The internet.
3. Free personal blogging and publishing programs.
4. Cell phone technology.
7. Global internet connectivity through Wi-Fi and satellite networks.
Technology and its contribution in shaping the future
The presence of cheaper, more advanced electronics have given commoners, citizens tools that diminish much barriers and differences between them and mainstream media. Online news sites experiment with business models and have developed lots, rapidly taking the place of newspaper and magazine services. Globalization has given access for up-to-date minute news updates on any topic anywhere. The introduction of new tools has given modern journalists a multimedia storytelling experience richer and more fun than anything ever before which will shape the future too and is here to stay.
The future of journalism
The rise of digital media has empowered people worldwide but also enabled the spread of disinformation undermining the funding of journalism. These are five things about the future of journalism which we all should know.
We have moved from a world where media organisations were gatekeepers to a world where media created the news agenda, but it’s access to audiences was controlled by platform companies. Established news media keep being at the centre of online discussions driving the agenda. But we have moved from a world where media organisations controlled both content and channels to a world where media organisations still create content but people access it via platforms like search engines, social media etc.
The presence of social media feeds and search engines now drive people to more and more diverse sources of information.
Journalism is often losing the battle for people’s attention and for people’s trust. The present pattern of news use shows a future of great information inequality not because of lack of access but because of lack of interest, low engagement and little trust in news.
The business models that fund news are challenged, weakening professional journalism and making media more vulnerable to commercial and political pressure. Even after thirty years of invention of the World Wide Web, the majority of professional journalism is still funded by newspapers. And 90% of publisher’s revenues worldwide still come from print. But these forms of funding will dissolve as we move to the digital environment where platforms like Google and Facebook capture most of the advertising leading to further job declines in newsrooms.
It is said that change is the only constant. And this fact applies truly to journalism. There are certain ways by which the role of journalists has changed.
The newsroom is into a shrinking setup. Today there are now 6 PR professionals for every one journalist. There has been a drastic drop in journalist employment well balanced by a boom in the public relations industry both in the number of opportunities available and the average salary. Today PR pros are making $16000 more than their journalist counterparts. The need for a streamlined public relations management tool has never been stronger.
This digital revolution has changed the way journalists find news. Social media and other products and tools have emerged which wanted to make life easier for journalists and PR pros but it just is not that way always. Because of the rise of social media, journalists today have a lot of open access to their respective audiences putting them closer than ever to the content and story ideas their audience care about.
Journalists also make their own brands. They share stories on social media platforms and they now are working hard to build their own brands, share their work and build their own audiences. While social media is an effective tool for communicating breaking news it also makes the lifespan of a news story much shorter than it used to be.
PR pros and the general public have larger access to journalists through social media. Social media brought PR pros closer than ever to the media. With platforms like Twitter journalists now communicate what they’d like PR pros to know before talking to them and PR pros can also gain knowledge about the reporter’s voice, tone, opinions etc.
The journalistic evolution has had a good impact on both public relations professionals and the public. Despite the digital revolution there still is the need for free, honest, unbiased press. And howsoever the journalism and PR industries change the fact remains that they need one another and will continue to work together being in some ways interdependent.