Tag: media

OPINION: The future of journalism

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Photo: IPS

By Andrés Cañizález*

CARACAS, Apr 7 2020 (IPS) – All over the world, journalism is going through an era of uncertainty. It is not yet clear what the business model for the news field will be, and this is happening precisely at a time when information is a central issue in every person’s life.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted both dimensions. Citizens in preventive confinement consume much more news regarding the wide implications of COVID-19; but this, in turn, happens under a modality not necessarily lucrative for the news business. The scenario of a post-pandemic global recession is stirring fears in the news business field among many countries.

Citizens in preventive confinement consume much more news regarding the wide implications of COVID-19; but this, in turn, happens under a modality not necessarily lucrative for the news business

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published its report on the future and main trends expected in this field for 2020. This was released before the global spread of the coronavirus. However, the document is very relevant as it draws important lines on the future of journalism.

In this article, for reasons of space, the most significant aspects of the executive summary – just the tip of the iceberg – are included. For those interested in further detail, I recommend reading it in full here.

The study is based on surveys administered to executives in the journalistic world and leaders of digital projects in the media. A total 233 people in 32 countries were surveyed. The countries include the United States, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, and Japan.

Nevertheless, most respondents live in Europe: United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Poland, Finland, Norway, and Denmark. It is very important not to lose sight of this fact, as it implies the viewpoints of people living in environments with no issues regarding connectivity, Internet speed, or access to smart phones.

Below, a closer look at some interesting aspects:

Most media executives claim they are confident about the prospects of their companies; but they are much less certain about the future of journalism. This is usually the case in surveys: When people are asked if conditions in their country will get worse, to which they usually reply affirmatively, next thing they say – conversely – they expect an improved personal situation.

One of the significant issues about journalism resides in local news output. There are fears of loss of credibility impacting journalists and media in general; and this may be intensified by attacks on journalism from public officials. Furthermore, it may be the case that Donald Trump is turning into a role model of this form of attack for populist leaders of any ideological persuasion in their run for power.

Closely related to the above, 85% of the respondents agreed that the media should do more to fight fake news and half-truths, that is, addressing disinformation while keeping an eye on the fact that it can be encouraged or steered straight from the hubs of political power.

The global crisis generated by the coronavirus, leaving thousands of casualties behind, with no certainty about the effectiveness of the vaccines currently under evaluation, has been a hotbed for the spread of fake news. These not only increase in contexts of political tension, but also thanks to the uncertainty prevailing at this time.

How should journalism be funded? Media owners still rely heavily on subscription fees: Half of them assure it will be the main avenue of income. About a third of respondents (35%) think that advertising and income from readers will be equally important. This is a big change in the mindset of those running the media: Only 14% venture that they will manage to operate exclusively on advertising.

Without knowing exactly the global economic impact of coronavirus, news companies must brace themselves for the direct impact of a massive recession on the pockets of their readership base, as they, faced with the dilemma of paying for news or meeting basic needs, may end up choosing the latter.

On the other hand, there is much concern among publishers and media project leaders about the growing power of digital platforms providing social media to the public (Facebook, Twitter, Google). Although this concern is widespread, there is no consensus on what kinds of response should be given to this new power that has been consolidating.

It is feared that regulations approved by the legislative or executive branches of government will end up hurting instead of helping journalism (25% to 18% of respondents), although most consider that they will not make a noticeable difference (56%).

2020 will be the year of podcasts. Over half of respondents (53%) state that initiatives in this field will be important this year. Others point to text-to-voice conversion as a way of capitalizing on the growing popularity of these formats.

We are likely to see more moves from the media this year to customize digital covers and explore other forms of automatic recommendation. Over half of respondents (52%) state that such AI-supported initiatives will be very important; but small companies fear to lag behind. This is still practically a science fiction topic for readers in Southern Hemisphere countries.

Attracting and retaining talent is a major concern for media companies, especially for IT positions. Another concern relates to the way in which companies are taking action on gender diversity. In this area, 76% believe they are taking steps in the right direction.

However, although progress is being made on gender diversity within the news media, this is not the case for other forms of diversity – geographic (55%), political (48%), and racial (33%). There is remarkably less progress regarding decisions inside of news companies and, in some cases, these issues that are just not part of their agendas.

The outlook for the future of journalism, in general, is marked by questions rather than certainty. The world as it turns in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic may further trigger some of these questions, without any likely answers in the short term.

* The author is a Venezuelan journalist and Doctor of political science.

In a rebuff to big media outlets, the Fair Work Commission rules digital journalists also covered by Award benefits

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Photo: MEAA

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 21 November: In a landmark verdict on 20 November 2019 the Fair Work Commission ruled digital journalists will be entitled to penalty rates, overtime and other key conditions, which print journalists access from the Journalists Published Media Award, the benchmark award in the published media industry (covering news titles and magazines).

The verdict removes an anomaly where digital journalists, doing the same job as print journalists, were denied access to Award conditions.

In its historic ruling yesterday but announced today, the full bench of the Fair Work Commission has agreed with the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance’s (MEAA), the premier media union in Australia, argument that digital media workers should have full access to the Award.

The decision removes an anomaly where digital journalists, doing the same job as print journalists, were denied access to the award.

It means that digital media journalists will have access to minimum standards for their wages, penalty rates, overtime and other conditions of employment such as hours of work and breaks.

A media release from the MEAA says, “The Fair Work decision is part of the four-yearly review of modern awards. MEAA first put its case to the Commission in 2015. MEAA’s arguments for including digital journalists were strongly opposed by some of Australia’s biggest media outlets (including Nine Entertainment – incorporating the former Fairfax company, Rural Press and the Daily Mail).”

MEAA Media director Neill Jones says, “The Fair Work ruling means that if you work for a digital media start-up or a digital-only publication you are no longer treated as a second-class journalist.

“This decision removes the award’s outdated focus solely on print journalists which placed digital workers at a disadvantage. The decision to modernize the award brings those journalists together under one standard, in recognition of their shared roles and responsibilities as media professionals, regardless of whether they work online or in print.”

MEAA Media federal president Marcus Strom says, “Digital is the reality of all newsrooms today. It’s about time the award caught up with the working lives of our members.

“Congratulations to the MEAA Digital Media Committee made up of working journalists at a range of online publications. Now, more than ever, journalists working in digital media need to join the union so we can collectively enforce these new entitlements.”

The FWC has also ruled that journalists working for country non-daily newspapers should be entitled to a 10% weekend penalty rate loading if they have to work on a Saturday or Sunday. This is the second significant outcome for workers in this Fair Work ruling.

The decision has a 12-month transition period before it comes into full effect.

VIDEO : “Politically Free, Imprisoned by Profit”

P. Sainath while delivering 22nd Safdar Hashmi Memorial Lecture talked about the state of Indian Media and deep impact of corporate houses on it. He took jibe at the surgical strikes and said that it had exposed the bias in the Indian Media. “Any vestige of spine vanished in the last 35-40 days,” he said. The nature of the media in subcontinent has changed enormously in last 10-15 years.