Digital revolution 'changing face of journalism'

Digital revolution 'changing face of journalism'

Newspapers, conventionally “produced from behind walls with no real connection with  readers”will have to reckon with the enormous space provided by the Internet and its reach, he said.

Delivering a special lecture on “The Future of Journalism in the Digital Age”, at a programme organised by “The Hindu” and the Asian College of Journalism, Rusbridger said while the basic rules and goals of journalism like truth-telling will remain the same, “we are now increasingly coming face to face with our audience (the readers).”
Citing contemporary trends, he said newspapers should place themselves at the heart of the digital revolution rather than wall themselves away.

Though the Indian newspaper industry has been growing in contrast to the declining circulation in the West, even countries like India will have to face  issues posed by the digital era once the ‘3G’and broadband revolution takes off in a big way here, either through laptops or mobile phones, Rusbridger said.

According to him, social media and networking sites like ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ could become powerful journalistic tools for a more inclusive journalism. For instance, when events involving huge crowds come up or are being reported, newspapers could harness information through Twitter.

Recently, in capping the BP oil spill that was environmentally devastating, lots of offshore engineers responded with constructive ideas. It was possible only because of the new digital/social media, which “encourages participation by inviting people’s response,” he said.

Outlining “ten ways” in which the ‘Digital Age’ would begin to change journalism, Rusbridger said Google or Yahoo would not like to get into journalism per se. Good quality content will still have to be provided by journalists, but the ‘web space’ could complement content enrichment.

All these will be crucial for the stability of democracy also, notwithstanding hard issues like choice of technology and a viable business model, he stressed.
DH News Service

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