Brave new world: how journalists are relegated to second fiddle

The Guardian's Katharine Viner writes cogently about the far-reaching, painful and exciting changes that are being wrought by digital journalism on the industry .

As she points out this is "a huge conceptual change ... a cluster bomb blowing apart who we are and how our world is ordered." She emphasizes the gulf between the closed world of papers and the openness, multi-directionality and fluidity of the new digital era form the unanswerable truths of the paper to "unfiltered exchange of information". The journalist has lost smug omniscience: some readers will almost certainly know more about a particular subject than the journalist. It then comes down to involving those readers and reaching out to them through Twitters and Blogs. Readers shape and develop stories and are an integral part of it. That enriches our work.

This can reap rewards.  Viner cites a powerful example of video footage sent in by a reader showing a protester being shoved to the ground by a policeman, blowing up the police story and resulting in the perpetrator's dismissal for gross misconduct.

Papers need to adapt to capture this audience participation. "You need to be part of the web's ecosystem, not just plonked on top of it; to submit to the web's architecture, psychology, mores," argues Viner.

She goes on to argue that real journalists are outsiders and are in favour of the open web, open journalism, the free flow of engagement and challenge and debate. Those that resist openness through paywalls and refusal of engagement are the luddites.

I agree that journalism is being reconceptualized and admired her idealism.

I remain bothered, however, with her unwillingness to tackle the financial side, the reduction of staff and salaries and lack of training as demands proliferate and new skills are demanded. The rules are being made up as we go along.

How do you monitor content in this octopus media with tentacles across print, digital, reader commentary, video when it is free and open source? The answer: you don't. You're too busy investing in technology to embrace all these opportunities and in so doing so you skimp on controls and cut journalist salaries. No wonder they are leaving the industry in droves.

And if you are not able to really monitor comments (perhaps just removing obscenities), are you not just an open source for tit-for-tat gossip and PR people plugging their wares? Trolls, spammers and commercial representatives are increasingly and insidiously present across the web. Without more  intelligence in overseeing open source, could be little more than a cacophany of the self-interested. Perhaps it's time to call in someone objective -a journalist perhaps?


About admin

I've been researching and writing on Brazilian financial markets, industry and economy since 2006 for a wide range of specialist media, consultancies and investors. Before that I spent over 10 years in London and New York writing for and editing magazines and journals dedicated to finance, investment and economics in developing markets, mostly for the Euromoney Institutional Investor group and Thomson Financial. Areas of coverage Below are samples of areas that I cover and some of the common themes that I investigate. Capital markets BM&FBovespa markets *capital raising trends: via equities (IPOs and secondary issuance), debt and loans *the asset management industry: legislation and coverage of the key hedge, pension and investment funds * corporate governance: how the regulator is seeking to strengthen best practice and limitations * debt markets: the nascent corporate markets, attempts to boost liquidity and new insturments. * private equity market: why this market has been so successful, who’s involved. *electronic, high frequency trading and alternative trading platforms: what does the future hold? Banking *credit: the growth of consumer and business credit and competition between banks and models *Public versus private: the role and market share of public and private sector banks and the politicization of the industry * internationalization: which Brazilian banks are expanding overseas and where * investment banking: the growth of the domestic market and who’s winning which mandates *regional banks and development banks: what role they play in the industry and how they compete Mining *licensing: the complex process of obtaining environmental, water, land and operating licenses at a state and federal level. * capacity: the feasibility and sustainability of capacity increases * financing: how miners are raising finance in Brazil and abroad *competition: the interplay Vale, MMX and junior miners *logistics: rail, road and port connections Oil and gas: the fund raising issues related to the massive of pre-salt (link) Multilatinas: Who are they and how and where they are expanding Meatpacking: Are debt burdens sustainable, what are the different business models for areas such as branding and distrbution Agriculture: How are farms consolidating, what are environmental risks, how can foreign investors be involved. IT and software: Can Brazil take on India and build a viable long-term IT industry? For more information on clients and work, please see the media and consultancy sections.
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