The Internet, Social Media in particular, and the related transformation of user behaviour and users’ expectations brought far-reaching change to journalism. The dual business model, which bestow publishers a quiet comfortable financial situation by combining two thirds of advertising income with one third of users’ contributions, no longer constitutes a sustainable business model. Advertisers’ investments followed users’ attention to the digital sphere where they appreciate elaborate online marketing strategies offered by Google, Facebook and others.
Threatened by these new competitors, publishers face sourcing problems as gains in digital advertising revenue can’t make up for print loses. Searching for a digital business model, many of them react with budgets cuts and suspensions of staff in the newsrooms. Additionally, they slipped up when offering their content for free to the digital community eroding users’ willingness to pay.
Although this background forms a challenging situation for journalistic organisations, it’s not the end of the story. New Media transform every step of the journalistic working process: from investigation to source checking, publishing, and user interaction. Evolving modes of working manifest themselves in Digital, Multimedia, Data Driven or Citizen Journalism. For journalists, a profession formerly characterized by high status and solid conditions of work, these transformations create a challenging environment inducing role stress, identity conflicts and overwork. New skill-sets are required, the boundaries between journalism and its “usership” becomes a “conversation between equal parties” (Starkman, 2011, digital source), and permanent beta is daily business. While some still regret better times, the next evolutions are on the horizon: One big upcoming issue is newsroom architecture and cross-departmental teamwork. Another is Adaptive Journalism which strives for delivering “the best storytelling for the user at that [given] moment” (Haik, 2013, digital source).
Whilst it took traditional news organisations years to finally gain momentum, innovations for several years were initiated by start-ups and newly founded organisations (often by journalists formerly working for traditional news organisations, e.g. The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald et al., OZY by Carlos Watson et al. or Watson by Hansi Voigt et al.).
Bauer, D. (n.d.). http://www.davidbauer.ch. David Bauer’s personal blog. Retrieved from http://www.davidbauer.ch
Haik, C. (2013). Adaptive Journalism. Cory Haik’s tumblr-account. Retrieved from http://coryhaik.tumblr.com/post/49802508964/adaptive-journalism
Hayes, D. (2013, August 4). Obama is wrong. Traditional journalism isn’t dead. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/04/obama-is-wrong-traditional-journalism-isnt-dead/
Starkman, D. (2011, November 8). Confidence Game. Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved from http://www.cjr.org/essay/confidence_game.php?page=all&print=true