News outlets to embrace social media or perish

It’s the question that’s been plaguing journalists as technology continues to advance: what is the future of news?

The news organisations that continue to stay strong through the 24-hour news cycle are the ones who embrace the online realm and social media.

Yesterday’s tragic accident at Dreamworld had social media in a frenzy. It’s where the news broke first on Twitter and Facebook.

Television news stations such as Nine and Seven were live streaming press conferences via Facebook and revealing information via Twitter as soon as it came to hand.

Talks of a paperless society continue and as such, newspapers are predicted to be the first to go.

Former senior editor John Miller at the Toronto Star said “I think newspaper readership is strongest among people who are soon going to be dead”. So as long as there are baby boomers, there will be newspaper enthusiasts.

Declining readership and declining advertising mean this business model is no longer sustainable. Papers have now turned to the online realm making money via subscriptions and advertising.

On March 17, 2016, 120 Fairfax journalists from print newspapers were sacked, and newsrooms have cut back on subeditors forcing journalists to take on the task.

When you cut staff numbers but want the same amount of work to be completed, remaining staff members are forced to take on more work.

Print journalists are now expected to write a story for print, a story for online, edit their work, take their own photos, and record and edit video/audio for the online site. It’s what has to be done to stay competitive.

Bloggers and citizen journalists continue to pose a threat to the industry, but readers know which organisations are reliable and accurate.

Ultimately the future of news comes down to knowing our audience. What we write and how we change should be for them.

Attention spans are shortening, nearly everything is immediate, and most things can be done via a smart phone.

If news organisations continue to keep up with rapidly advancing technology and embrace the wants and needs of their audience, there will be a future for news.

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