By Carolyn VanBrocklin
During the past four months that I have kept this blog, the future of journalism has been a persistent topic. It is causing a great deal of speculation in the profession. While the journalism industry, particularly print, is having some trouble, there will always be some demand for news from people who are interested in world events. It is just the medium through which news is presented that will have to evolve.
I have a couple of observations gleaned from the past semester and the topics that I have covered in my blog, in addition to opinions from others about what the future holds.
One popular view of the future of journalism that can already be seen is the prominence of local news. Alex Kreitman, the online editor at the Burlington Times-News, came to Elon to speak to my class about his role at the paper and mentioned that readers would rather see more local news when they read the paper.
Jeff Jarvis of Blog Machine agrees, but also thinks that local news organizations will be smaller and that the “heart of the work of local news organizations will be beats.” These beats will have a local focus work with bloggers and people within the community. The people within the community will have a hand in creating the news, as they might be the ones who are eye-witnesses. Citizen journalists are prominent in the news today already, and with encouragement by local media they will continue to have a big role.
Another trend that is already seen and will continue is that news will have to find new forms. When I visited WFMY to report on their 60th anniversary, I asked the anchors what they anticipated as the future of journalism and what changes they have seen already. They said that they have noticed journalists bringing in multiple elements of news, rather than just writing or just video.
Also the prevalence of blogs as a news-disseminating source is becoming more widespread. Within the news channel, various reporters or anchors might have blogs that offer more opportunities for open discussion and contact with the author rather than simply commenting at the bottom of a news story. Anderson Cooper, who visited Elon in April, has a blog within the CNN website.
In addition, Twitter is now becoming a news source for people who would rather just get short updates. The Washington Post, CNN and ABC, to name a few, all have Twitter sites that are updated. Even the individuals working at CNN maintain Twitter accounts (again, Anderson Cooper).
According to Brian Solis of TechCrunch, the future of journalism is “survival of the fittest predicated by what you stand for and how hungry you are to build and sustain a community around you and your work.” The future of journalism is based on those who understand the new media and new trends that are occurring and can use them effectively to report well.