The art of journalism has changed at an exponential rate in the 20th and 21st centuries, thanks to advances in technology and the development of digital tools. Good journalism now requires more than a knack for storytelling and stylistic writing skills. The utilization of digital journalism tools is now integral to modern-day breaking news broadcasting.
So why has this shift from print to digital journalism occurred? One major factor would be, as it always is, financial. Over the last 20 years, world leaders in news broadcasting have taken their services online to get the news to the consumer instantly. This made 2019 a crucial year, as for the first time, global digital ad spend overtook print spend. With this massive shift, an evolution in journalism techniques, skills, and tools is essential to the profession whilst still maintaining an engaging story-telling voice.
Turn your minds back to when print news dominated the morning routine of individuals worldwide. A good journalism tool for interviews and first-person reports has traditionally been short-hand writing, an integral skill for budding journalists to master. The learning process, however, can be long-winded and the practice of short-hand note-taking has lessened in importance since the introduction of recording devices. Once reports had been recorded, the often lengthy task of transcribing began.
Whether by employing freelance transcribers or bringing the task in-house, either way, it used to be a hefty one. Not only that, but reliability would often show its ugly head. The dark cloud of possible misquoting was one that often hung over the heads of journalists. Enter digital transcription! Speech-to-text technology is a journalism tool that has seen mass adoption in recent years. With real-time capture, news writers can relieve themselves of the transcribing burden. The application of technology into everyday articles increases the reliability of the journalistic content.
One of the key ways that written journalism has changed in recent years is the introduction of social media. Now breaking the news has never been quicker or more direct. Paired with the traditional disciplines of good journalism story-telling and communication, the two combined can become integral in creating headline content.
Twitter has long been used as a breaking news platform by journalists for years due to the instantaneous nature of the platform. The ability to report on breaking news as and when it happens goes hand in hand with the journalistic desire to be the 'first with the scoop'.
'We can now, with the internet, instantly research, communicate, collaborate and with social media, we can get the message out to millions of people in literally a second.'
Jeff Kofman, Award-winning journalist & CEO of Trint
Reporting live across a number of platforms (Instagram and Facebook Live) with nothing more than a phone has also proven to be a priceless resource with local journalists, putting both them and the viewer in the heart of the action. Not only does the reporter get the story out sooner than other competitors, but also increases the reliability of the report, much like field reporters, just without the cost of a crew to the broadcaster! This ability to report from anywhere at the drop of a hat appeals to that basic instinct of most journalists - the desire to dig deeper into a story and be at the center of the action.
Competition for up-to-date news has never been tighter, for writers the world over success is now measured in website traffic rather than editions sold. Whereas traditionally "yesterday's news is today's chip paper" now stories online remain on databases forever. This helps large news outlets to maintain their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings, even when that news bulletin is no longer a hot topic.
What will the next decade or two bring to the art of journalism? With technology evolving as fast as it is presently, expect more developments to aid the broadcast of breaking news. Whatever they may be, it is key to be able to adapt and embrace the technology.
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