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Monday, June 07, 2004

Poynter Institute editor paints picture of the multiplatform newspaper of the future

From journalism.com, here's a fascinating interview with Steve Outing, senior editor at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The interview touches upon some of the most interesting editorial issues we've been discussing on Editors Weblog: the integration of blogs into newspaper websites, the concept of the "citizen reporter," the challenge posed to newspapers by Google News, the integration of new cellular technology, and much more. All in all, Outing sounds a call for quick innovation if newspaper journalists want to stay competitive in the 21st century. Here's what he imagines to be the state of online newspaper journalism ten years down the road...

Online and wireless reading of news will be more common than print. Print isn't going anywhere, but it will no longer have the dominance that it still does today. A newspaper's digital offerings will be as important - in terms of audience size and I think by then revenue -
as print.

Portable reading devices will have made great strides. Many of us will have a tablet device that's always connected to the broadband internet and serves as our portal to the world of media. It will replace print magazines for many people. We'll get our news on it - from a variety of sources. Content will be a combination of text, static images, audio, video, interactives, etc. It'll probably supplant our laptops, and include our music collections. We will have developed new and better ways to present news on a screen this size - which will make today's news websites look antiquated (and cluttered).

We'll receive news headlines (in text, graphical/Flash and video form) to our phone/communicators; that'll be routine. Watches probably will have evolved into communication (instant messenger-like functionality) and news devices - so we'll get headline alerts on our wrists. And the alerts won't just be for big national stories, but for micro-local stuff that's specific to us (eg. my kid's school is closed today due to a fire).

Google will have badly hurt the newspaper industry with its efforts at localising search, stealing away advertising dollars from local newspapers. This will mainly be money from small advertisers who didn't use newspapers for print, but were ripe for ad opportunities online (like Google AdWords). This is money that could've gone to newspapers, but they didn't respond quickly enough to the aggressive local strategy of Google, et al and lost out.

Instead of the local newspaper being the primary marketplace for the community, others will have won this opportunity because they did a better job of creating services that were truly useful to online users. I hope to be proved wrong on this, but past newspaper industry experience shows that it doesn't respond fast enough to serious threats from online companies that have billions to throw at what they see as smart opportunities.

Story presentation will be very different to what we see today. It'll be less text-dominant. There'll be more interactive video; that'll be much more common. We will have created new forms of news storytelling that we wouldn't recognise today. And such treatment won't be limited to a few important national or international stories. It will have become easy and inexpensive enough to produce that we can afford it even on local coverage - because the tools for producing it will have improved so much.

We'll have figured out a model for 'citizen journalism'. Within our personal news feeds that each of us has configured, we'll get news and relevant information from professional journalists as well as citizens that we've learned to trust enough to accept their material. This might be other parents from our kids' school, or a local political organiser we like and trust, whatever. Tools will have evolved to accept into our feeds these micro-local voices - and an internet-wide reviewing system will have others' views of these voices to help us determine if they're credible.

Source: journalism.com

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 7, 2004 at 11:11 AM in a. Citizen journalism, c. Multimedia convergence, g. Photojournalism, i. Future of print, m. Improving editorial quality, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink

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