Is Journalism Dead?

September 6, 2011 12:58 pm

Newsonomics by Ken Doctor provides an interesting insight into the future of content

As a news industry analyst with a career in media that spans over 20 years, Ken Doctor is well qualified to make predictions. Which is a good thing, considering predictions are the flavour of his latest book, Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends that Will Shape the News You Get.

Authors, analysts and even newspapers themselves are falling over themselves to predict the end of the news industry (it seems bad news will always sell, even when the bad news is about the paper printing it). But Doctor skips the panic, hysteria, blame-slinging and yearning for the good ’ol days and actually pieces together a picture of what this new media landscape might look like.

Here are a few of his most interesting points:

‘In the age of Darwinian content, you are your own editor’

At the crux of the new way of thinking about news is the notion that we share what we think is relevant. What we deem newsworthy. As Doctor puts it: ‘The old gatekeepers are disappearing – we’ve become our own and one-another’s editors.’ This puts the onus back on the news consumer to become a quality news curator.

‘For journalists’ jobs, it’s back to the future’

Perhaps the hardest thing for many journalists to come to terms with about the emerging media landscape is that it’s no longer just about being able to string a sentence together or take a good interview. Journalists are being forced to up-skill – and fast. The bar has been raised for journalists who now have to be fluent in digital news, social media and on-the-go editing. The options are either to whine about it, or to get onboard.

‘Technology isn’t the enemy’

One of the key points Doctor makes is that as although traditional news agencies may lament technology as the main cause of journalism’s downfall, technology can also work in its favour. Doctor argues that it’s about harnessing that technology, rather than rebelling against it.

‘It’s a pro-am world’

Doctor discusses the beef journalism has with blogging and politely insists that journalism gets off its high horse. He espouses the benefits of user-generated content and argues that in a content-rich world, journalism should become better, not worse.

In Newsonomics, Doctor provides a valuable service in the shape of thoughtful rather than alarmist analysis. Its easy-to-read, cut-the-fat format is in line with his theories, and it’s a must read for anyone who cares about journalism, news or the wider concept of content in general.


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