The audience is now our newsroom buddy
Jun 28, 2011
Traditional Journalism is Dead: Embracing Audience Engagement in the Digital Era
A few weeks ago, an event held by the BBC, the BBC Social Media Summit (see the lectures below), stirred the journalistic environment in London, featuring participants from traditional media such as The Guardian, The Times and The Daily Telegraph to cover the meeting. The basic issue was the engagement of journalists with social networks or "with people who were known as readers.
Among the many observations on the subject, the main idea was that traditional journalism, done in newsrooms with editorial meetings, agendas that were often made with embedded conclusions and decisions about what people want is dead. "Social media is something we do with the audience and not for them," described Meg Pickard, from The Guardian. Her editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, went deeper, saying that current generation journalists need to accept that an open media is a better media.”
Rusbridger and Pickard's conclusion seems to be in tune with the Pew Internet report cited in a previous post: the audience today is part of the journalistic process and not just in the letters section. Julie Posetti, from Mediashift, puts the evolution of the subject like this: "in 2009, I gave a lecture in Sydney whose theme was 'Why should we engage'; today, the question is 'How should we engage.'
A larger number of sources is the great advantage of the process; much more difficult verification in terms of information checking, the setback. According to Esra Dogramaci, Al Jazeera's social media coordinator, the equation has become (Information - noise) + Context = Responsible Journalism. The equation is very precise and you just have to see the "process" of journalism in schizophrenic-police programs or pseudo-journalistic sports TV in Brazil to understand. The essence has not changed; the journey, yes. On a broadcaster like Al Jazeera, audience participation in the process can be even more fundamental, as in the uprisings in the Middle East, where ordinary people became primary sources of information with blogs and Twitters. Traditional journalism is dead. And may it rest in peace.