Adapting to a Changing Media Landscape
Comparable to the surface of Venus, the current national media landscape is complete with crushing pressure, high temperatures and towering mountains seemingly impossible to overcome.
Every day has the element of unpredictability, especially in an industry that faces constant evolution. Print advertising revenues continue to plummet, and newspapers are met with increased financial instability. Announcements of budget cuts and layoffs have spiked.
Despite talk, headlines and political banter focusing on the death of traditional journalism, the profession continues to innovate, improve and expand with new technology and business practices.
With the frequent gossip, it can be difficult to miss current trends in journalism, including:
- The skills and details shift as media organizations commit to detail
- The new growth of news outlets and public relations agencies
Although trending, these new developments come at an unavoidable cost and are a menace to many. For example, the shift to digital hasn’t been without casualties.
The New York Times abolished their copy desk. The Village Voice ended their print edition. The Los Angeles Times installed new leadership after terminating the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, managing editor, deputy managing editor for digital and assistant managing editor of investigations, in an effort to mount a publication-wide “digital-first” mindset in hopes of sustaining future readership.
At the risk of fading out, media outlets are desperately trying to climb those mountains to meet current reader preferences for the information to be available online. Despite the need for truthful, dedicated journalists in the “fake news” era, it seems no newspaper is safe from the digital revolution — but maybe that’s the point.
This unprecedented access to information also has led many readers to increase their expectations for quality, transparent content. With the proliferation of digital platforms, some media organizations have identified an opportunity to provide timely reflection of news as it happens, providing readers with a sense of instant gratification.
Some have also taken this shift in expectations to rearrange their newsrooms.
Feature and service journalism are on the rise, and with today’s landscape geared toward visual, digital and data-driven content, journalists are also learning new multimedia skills to increase the readability of their work on multiple platforms.
So where does a “faltering” industry find this room for change?
Contrary to popular belief, news organizations are not dying – they’re growing, just not in a way traditionally recognized and measured. In 2014, Pew Research Center reported on the growth of digital reporting with data from 30 major digital news organizations and 438 smaller ones.
According to that report, “those 468 outlets — the vast majority of which started in the past decade — have produced almost 5,000 full-time editorial jobs.”
Commentaries leading up to this year show that the most prominent trend is change, and the entire industry is hungry for it – not just journalists.
In the public relations field, regular advancements are also creating a shift in industry trends – but that will be the subject of a future post.
But until then, tell leave us a comment on Facebook and tell us: How do you consume your news?