Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is the future of news in-depth?

This BBC article by journalist Andrew Marr suggests that the future of journalism doesn't lie only with the aggregators of top headlines, but with sites that can take the plunge into the deeper waters of particular issues--and do so alongside their sources. 

I like that he starts this line of thought focusing on what audiences want, using himself as an example: 
I'm interested in politics, social policy, business, technology and the arts. I am not interested in sport, fashion, property, crime stories or celebrity. In this new world, where I'm being sold new propositions, I no longer see why I should buy material I'm not interested in, just because it's been bundled up by one publisher rather than another. Am I alone? I'll pay. I'll buy. But I want to be more discriminating.
As a result, he sees a two-layered news world, one in which the emphasis isn't always on the most recent news.  Top-news aggregators would feed us the most recent news, he says, backed up by another layer that dives deeper:

...large numbers of specialist news sites - for specific companies or sectors, for different environmental issues, for overseas crises - which bring together journalists, academics, specialists, campaigners, professionals, lobbyists and so on. These will be where the expertise and longer-term attention span will be found.
It's an appealing vision, in part because it holds out some hope for investigative and watchdog journalism of the type that's already being mourned as gone. And it opens a door for information sources to participate.  Some of this is already emerging, but it's far from the sea-change envisioned here.

The question for communicators and sources will be:  Are you ready for this? It will require a different strategy than attempting a "wide" and immediate release that gets to the biggest outlets, and your approach, data-sharing and measurement tactics all will need to adjust if this is where we're headed.  Share your thoughts on whether this view of the future is viable in the comments.

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