Journalism is becoming more important but less robust, according to a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The report, co-authored by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Meera Selva, identifies five trends about the future of journalism, and examines their potential impact upon society.
In their report, “More Important, But Less Robust? Five things everybody needs to know about the future of journalism”, Nielsen and Selva highlight risks posed by growing information inequality, struggling journalism business models, and the role of social media platforms. They also underlines that digital media drive more diverse news diets and argue that, despite the challenges, the best journalism is better than ever.
The five global trends are based on recent research conducted at the Reuters Institute. They reflect changes to the way people access news, transformations in professional journalism and the business of news, as well as changing political environments in some parts of the world.
5 things everybody needs to know about the future of journalism
In summary, the following five facts are crucial to know these days:
- We have moved from a world where media organisations were gatekeepers to a world where media still create the news agenda, but platform companies control access to audiences
- This move to digital media generally does not generate filter bubbles. Instead automated serendipity and incidental exposure drive people to more and more diverse sources of information
- Journalism is often losing the battle for people’s attention and in some countries for the public’s trust
- The business models that fund news are challenged, weakening professional journalism and leaving news media more vulnerable to commercial and political pressures
- News is more diverse than ever, and the best journalism in many cases better than ever, taking everyone from the most powerful politicians to the biggest private companies
The report argues that these five trends will play out – with variation due to cultural, economic, political, and social context – across the globe in years to come.
Commenting on the report which was presented for the first time at the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen said: “Digital media bring many challenges for journalism and for our societies, but also very real opportunities for both news media and the public. The challenge for journalists and news media is to continue to adapt to the digital media that people all around the world are eagerly embracing at the expense of print and broadcast, and build a profession and a business fit for the future.”
Meera Selva added that “the role of journalism in many different cases, including the #MeToo movement, in confronting corruption amongst public officials, and in fuelling public debate around platform companies’ power and privacy practices, underline the continued relevance of investigative reporting.”
The full report can be found on the website of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
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