Journalism isn’t dying, it’s being murdered. Most communication professionals would take this stance when commenting on the future of journalism. The rise in technology and progression in multimedia reporting has threatened print media, no doubt. But there is hope. Decrease in funding, increase in fake news, and invasion of ‘dark money’: all scary aspects for aspiring journalists. But everybody loves an underdog.
In an article by International Journal of Communication, multiple respected journalists comment on the future of journalism. While it seems intimidating that journalism is transitioning from print media to multimedia, this article pointed out that “we are witnessing the emergence of new tools and practices, phenomena that are yielding both a flurry of new ways to produce information and a redefinition of the place of professional journalism in this new information system.” To me, this is saying that while the change in technology really uproots the traditional practices of journalism, but that doesn’t mean journalism won’t find its place in all of this. It’s a matter of trial and error. There will be issues of fake news and career instability, but journalists will find their way.
It’s the actions that journalists take and the respect the public gives that will define the future of journalism. Reporters need to be open to their media platform, and they have to be open to writing different stories on different schedules. In an open letter to the paper, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet proposed a project for journalists. Steps of this product include: shifting away for commodity coverage, embracing more visual stories, changing the practices of copy editing, and more.
This project suggests that journalists embrace the ideas of saying “yes” instead of “no” when it comes to changes in the industry. The Washington Post made inferences to his statements as well:
“The key to all of this — as well as to journalism’s ability to survive in a meaningful way going forward — is that we are not looking just for content but smart, unique content that shows a depth of knowledge or a slice of humor or, well, something that differentiates it from the pack.”
Journalists have been dragged through the mud this year. Between butting heads with our country’s elected official, journalism has faced an extreme amount of fake news. By fake, I mean individuals are calling themselves journalists, writing their opinion, and posting it as an alias for fact-filled news. There are endless debates as to whether or not all of this fake news effected the election, and honestly, we’ll never really know for sure. The most damaging aspect of the rise of fake news is that every single journalists’ credibility is questioned.
One example of journalists taking on transitions is when Vanity Fair published a home page banner that read “The Magazine Donald Trump Doesn’t Want You to Read.” This banner alone led to the best issues, in regards to revenue and subscription sign ups, that Vanity Fair has had in its 166-year history. But why was it so popular?
The Trump administration has made it very clear that reporters are his enemy. Vanity Fair writer Tina Nquyen reviewed food at the Trump Grill, in Trump Tower, as “The Worst Restaurant in America.” Of course Trump raced to his phone immediately to publicly scrutinize the magazine on Twitter. The President stated that the magazine was dealing with horrible numbers, lack of talent and big financial trouble. So Vanity Fair shot back in a creative and inspiring way.
Some might say journalism is dead. But be patient and pay attention to your news outlets. Sure, news has been faulty and questionable throughout time, but don’t give up on the industry. Journalists, and their publics, are in the middle of a prime, learning era.