Over the past decade, print newspapers have faced a decline in this digital age with the focus now on smart content. There was once a time where journalists were required to go out and gather information, which was then presented in a story-telling format and printed in the newspaper the next day. Whilst journalists will still go out to get first-hand information, internet is now available in abundance and accessible on hand-held digital devices and powerful laptops that allows users to find sources on the web or through social media in a matter of seconds. With the help of new media and technological advances, journalism has taken a new turn, allowing stories to be covered within a short space of time.
From an era where there were as little as two or three printers available for any form of journalism to be printed in the sixteenth century to a digital age, news is now on-demand with new technologies. Social networking changes the media’s relationship with their audience allowing opinions and comments to be taken into account via Twitter, Facebook and also on news websites. The typewriter in the image above, is a classic dated example as to what was once used to meet deadlines in comparison to the image below to how an average newsroom now appears. There now exists a number of definitions of social media including “Social media is digital content and interaction that is created by and between people” (http://heidicohen.com/social-media-definition/). The IBA’s official 2013 UK social media statistics show how social networks, blogs and various entertainment take up over one third of UK internet time with social media being at 12% (http://battenhall.net/blog/iab-releases-2013-uk-social-media-ad-spend-stats/). The Economist is a great example of a news organizations that has adopted numerous digital ways in order to deliver the news. They are on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and have resorted to having a successful YouTube channel with over 38,000 subscribers.
Trinity Mirror, Britain’s largest newspaper and magazine publisher announced earlier this year, that a number of changes will be made to all its regional newsrooms which included a “newsroom 3.0” model. The aim is that, with this new model, a new editorial workflow is possible where online content can easily be monitored. According to Trinity Mirror, traditional newsrooms are not designed to manage digital media in an effective way; therefore newsroom 3.0 will allow digital and print content to be managed effectively by integrating the two platforms together.
While major regional newsrooms are getting ready to embrace some digital changes, local weekly newspapers are also attempting to use social media to their advantage. The Halifax Courier, a weekly published newspaper in the town Halifax, West Yorkshire, which was founded in 1892, uses Facebook and Twitter to break news alerts as well as expand their audience.
John Kenealy, editor at the Halifax Courier, discussed his views on the impact of social media on his newspaper, in a recent interview. When asked if he agrees to using social media as a means to drive traffic to stories and to find sources for breakout events, he said: “Yes, Twitter is really important to us, if we tweet a story, obviously people will follow that tweet through directly through directly to the story online. We have 8,000 Twitter followers, plus individual journalists have up to about 1,200 to 2,000, so that’s a lot of potential readers.”
Mr Kenealy went on to comment on the usefulness of Twitter and Facebook in terms of aiding to secure a fundamental interaction with their audience. He said: “People like to comment, they particularly like the journalist’s account as opposed to the Halifax Courier Twitter page, so that’s always interesting to see. It’s very instantaneous, you put a story on and people comment within forty seconds.” He added how Facebook is particularly beneficial in the act of getting conversations started between people on the news stories.
However, with the digital media revolution, reliable information is available at the speed of light across the web. This raises the issue of the decline of print journalism, therefore newspapers now print more advertising content and use social media as a means to steer the public to their news stories. When discussing the possibility of print newspapers going out of business, Mr Kenealy had a rather diverse opinion and revealed with certainty that: “I think media groups will survive for certain because the idea is we harness the new media, but will print newspapers survive? I think yes, since they have survived everything that has come at them so far.” He further explained how their Twitter and Facebook followers as well as their newspaper subscribers regularly comment on the stories posted on the newspaper’s website.
In this short clip below, Mr Kenealy responds to the question: “Since news is now accessible on many platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and even on websites, would you say print newspapers will be going out of business, and overall, do you view social media positively or negatively?”
On the Halifax Courier website, it can be seen how tweets have been embedded into the far bottom-right corner on every page where readers would be encouraged to click on “follow @HXCourier”. This demonstrates the impact of social media on newspapers, and how effort is made to progress by harnessing the digital changes that are being thrown at these organisations; they are realising the importance of using tools in certain ways and integrating multimedia into their stories to expand to a wider audience. Mr Kenealy stated how journalists at the Halifax Courier are focusing on coverage from related towns and cities in West Yorkshire in order to reach out to readers in these places too.
Here is an image of the newsroom at The Halifax Courier:
The future of journalism will be very multimedia orientated as technology advances even further along with the input of social media into newsgathering to help ensure that news stories are told across all media in a coherent way. By putting newsroom 3.0 into practice, organisations will have the support to convert any company into a media company where news will contain high quality content such as videos, audio, discussions, etc, in a digital environment.