Time for a much needed media-whore blog.
It’s been quiet here the past couple of weeks but I’ve been busy; I’ve moved to the big smoke, moved into a new flat and started my new course – Broadcast Journalism at City University in London. It’s all awesome, and it’s got me thinking futures big time. Because the industry I’m finally on the verge of going into, is going to look unreckognisably different by the time I leave it as an old wrinkly man.
In fact it’s faster than that….the world of broadcast and media and even journalism is going to change within 5 years. We are, as Prof Roy Greenslade said in a lecture this week, in the midst of a digital revolution.
So I’ve been pondering the future..what will it be like to work in radio/tv news in 10 years time? Will radio and TV even exist?
The paper bin of history…
Well the first thing to say is that if you’re a newspaper journalist, you’re fucked. No not really, but it seems big change is on the horizon for the old hacks. UK paper circulation is declining big time; one doomsayers predicted something like 2043 as the year the last newspaper closes down.
Of course it won’t be that bad, but newspapers in their traditional form – i.e. on paper – seems a dying concept. All the major papers (with the exception of the Indie) are moving to online content and eventually we may all get our newspaper news online.
The big change this has brought has been the move to multimedia, eschewed neatly by the Daily Telegraph. A conservative piece of piffle here in the UK, the Telegraph is now on the forefront of the digital revolution. Soon all its journalists will be producing audio and video content as well as writing for the papers.
This, I reckon, is the future for the newspaper journalist. There’s a good site run by a lecturer at another journalism course at Westminster- David Dunkley Gyimah – who’s seen the same future.
And it’ll be the same for the traditional BJ as well. Multiskilling’s the way forward and soon we’ll all be expected to shoot, record, edit and write the news ourselves. In many cases this is already happening.
But the bigger future for broadcast journalism is video journalism. This is where the traditional 2/3 person TV crew is replaced by an all singing all dancing journalist who writes, researches, shoots and edits reports all by themselves.
VJ’s are in place all over the world but are used in conjunction with traditional crews. The future, I think, is the VJ-only newsroom, nicely described by it’s “guru” Michael Rosenblum and it works a bit like this:
- A daily 30 minute programme could be supplied by a team of 20-30 independent VJs.
- Working like a traditional newspaper journalist they take on individual stories themselves seeing them through to transmission.
- This gives each VJ a greater satisfaction in their work, and encourages more original journalism, moving away from the daily diary.
- With 30 VJs and only 10 reports per programme, each journalist would only be expected to produce 2/3 reports a week rather than churning out 1 a day. Again, more considered, thorough journalism.
- And as much as I hate to talk about money, it’d also be cheaper than hiring editors, camera crews etc.
It has it’s downsides of course. VJs as yet can’t report live via satellite and some news events require teams of producers behind the scenes. Some also moan about the quality of video journalism but excellent journalists like Inigo Gilmore and even these Inside Africa pieces prove those people wrong.
Finally, delivery will change too. Video News on Demand (VNOD) is in its early stages, with the marvellous CurrentTV leading the trend. Before long, TVs will be connected to broadband and we literally choose what news we want to watch. Good? Scary? I’m not sure yet.
So it’s all change. Changes are even causing ripples outside Europe and the US…check out Emmanuel’s blog on an E-media conference in Accra.
It’s all very exciting and a bit scary too..will there be jobs for journalists in the future? Emmanuel reckons so – he quite rightly reminded me that all these exciting technologies are tools for journalists and not substitutes.
Whatever the technology does there’ll always be a need for a cynical alcoholic to tell us the facts….I hope.