Controversial debate continues as the future of journalism is shaped by new technology.
Over the last decade, the journalism industry has been exposed to an accelerated rate of technological advancements and transformations. The way in which we communicate and receive information is being revolutionised from ‘traditional’ forms of media and applied in a new modern context. Journalistic practice and methods of news gathering, production and distribution are being redefined in a desperate attempt to survive. This hybrid and changing landscape of journalism raises the concern of the longevity of journalists and whether technology enhances or diminishes the way in which media is produced.
In the last month, Fairfax media declared a 46% staff cut for editorial journalists in the NSW region, and a further loss of 26 full-time newsrooms positions. Journalists are now expected to be able to deliver news across all media platforms. The restructuring of newsrooms and job cuts is changing the role of the journalist, adopting new methods of execution and production, leaving many in the field redundant. Undergraduate photographer Khalif Khalif articulates ‘technology has thrown a bomb into the journalism industry.’
With the dust still settling from the explosion of technology, no field is under more scrutiny than print media. Challenged by a lacking demand for traditional forms of media, many newspaper newsrooms are giving print employees more digital duties, or publishing content online. The transformation to online content is imperative to its survival, providing opportunity to appeal to a broader audience in a national and international sphere. Bec Wiggins, journalism student and Co-Editor for the Tertangala, expresses ‘it is an issue I worry about a lot…newspapers will not prolong the life of print journalism.’ Newly emerged media sites such as Junkee and Buzzfeed further convey the inevitability of a transforming media landscape. Optimistically, Bec pronounced ‘I don’t think print media is dying, it is just transforming…it is up to journalists to keep up with that change.’ Similarly, radio journalist Edward Jurkiewicx agrees suggesting ‘the only way for survival is to take on any new changes.’
The internet has broken through as a transformative force creating a new environment for a digital society with online media platforms. As a popular basis for information, this technological outbreak has allowed for a new ‘citizen’ journalism to flourish. Though the direct involvement of a growing audience is to be commended, Sally Krajacic, broadcast journalist, explains ‘people can turn around and misinterpret anything they read and directly post their opinions online.’ Bec confers asserting ‘it is harder to monetise online content rather than print content.’ It is still unseen whether there is a place for both the traditional and citizen journalist in media production.
Journalism is not as black and white as it used to be. The impact of technology is still unknown, as is the transcending future of journalism. Though one thing is for sure, as long as there is a demand for truth, information and stories, there will always be a place for the journalist.