World News Day takes place on 28 September and it celebrates the work of news organisations around the world in providing the public with credible and reliable news, at a time of continual challenges around fake news, sustainability and mental health demands.
To mark the occasion, Journalism.co.uk gives you the low-down of the most important and pressing industry trends, and what organisations are doing in response.
In response to the growing spread of false news on social media, Facebook and YouTube have created their own fact-checking features. However, both have faced criticism for not doing enough to address the issue.
As well as this, deepfakes pose a new challenge for journalists, as they are harder to debunk and stop before they go viral.
However, when it comes to tackling misinformation, it is not all doom and gloom. Open-source platform Check has made responding to mass verification requests during election campaigns significantly easier by developing an automated workflow for fact-checkers. Once a claim is checked, its status is logged in a database, freeing up the time for fact-checkers to verify more claims.
‘Mojo’ is a style of reporting that has been increasingly adopted across the industry as a new way of presenting stories.
Broadcasters, such as CNN and BBC have included mobile journalism to appeal to social media audiences in particular. There are also some news organisations, such as NDTV in India, that exclusively report through mobile journalism to help report breaking news.
Mobile journalism is not just about filming content for social media though; some journalists have also taken to texting their audiences directly through ‘Project Text’ with updates on stories they are interested in.
Reaching younger audiences
Younger audiences do care about the news. Ofcom’s recent report into news consumption in the UK revealed that almost 60 per cent of 12 and 15 year-olds take an interest in news coverage.
But the fact is Generation Z and millennial audiences are moving increasingly away from traditional media and towards social media for that news content. It news organisations want to remain relevant, they need to think about adapting and catering for these audiences in new formats.
First News, the UK’s only newspaper specifically for pre-teens and teenagers, is giving special attention to reporting stories such as Brexit and the climate crisis to young people without overwhelming them.
To help cultivate the journalists and news audiences of the future, UK charity The Student View has brought journalists into secondary schools to teach pupils about FOI requests and helped them get bylines on local news websites.
The world of social media is constantly evolving, with new features often appearing or algorithms being changed. This causes challenges for journalists and news organisations as they are forced to adapt to the changes.
Matt Navarra, digital media consultant, explained that although there is no "magic answer" to the concerns journalists have, the range of features at their disposal means they can at least adapt accordingly.
An example of this could be using hashtags on Instagram. Love them or hate them, they have the potential to make posts go further and build up a following. But there is no single right approach, which is why guidelines to using hashtags have been produced to help news organisations drive engagement, reach and impressions on the platform.
New technology is helping the journalism industry in a variety of exciting ways, from using machine learning to personalise content for audiences to telling stories through augmented reality.
Even Google News is looking at the ways in which artificial intelligence could help foster democracy, equipping reporters with the means to find the most suitable interviewee subjects and transcribe their interviews in real-time.
But there are automated tools here in the present day which can help reporters with everyday tasks. With this in mind, Sky News has been utilising AI for facial recognition and transcription.
A recent report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism warned that newsrooms risk missing much-needed talent if do not embrace different recruitment and management strategies for diverse applicants.
Lacking diverse voices not only results in organisations not representing audiences they are meant to serve. It also has a detrimental impact on the quality of reporting, allows inappropriate language to go unchallenged and results in valuable stories being missed.
But recruitment initiatives alone cannot solve the issue of social mobility in the media; leaders from a range of publications have been working to open their newsrooms to support individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds before the point of interview.
Journalism is a high-pressured industry and people of all levels of seniority and positions can feel the strain.
When trying to keep pace with a never-ending 24 hour news cycle, it is unsurprising that burnout has become a growing issue in newsrooms editors around the world.
For freelance journalists, flexible work hours and creative freedom come at the cost of mental and financial strain from the lack of a fixed income.
For students, universities in the UK have found that an imposter syndrome exists amongst the ranks. In response, Coventry University helped students manage their budgets by covering textbook costs and putting aside funding for resources, guest speakers and networking trips.
Not to forget about the readers, VICE commissions US journalism students for their stories on mental health to break the stigma on the topic.
With advertising revenue for publications in decline, media organisations have been attempting to diversify their revenue streams in order to balance the books.
New projects, such as Value My News, has attempted to help hyperlocal journalists and publishers find new revenue streams through content aggregation.
Whilst subscription-based models have existed for some time, news organisations like The Telegraph and The Times are experimenting with new ways to both drive and retain subscribers, by giving readers the chance to 'try before you buy' and engaging audiences through WhatsApp audio briefings.
Local news and citizen journalism
Local news outlets have also felt the pinch of declining advertising revenue resulting in job cuts to the newsroom. In an attempt to stop the bleeding, the Pulitzer Center launched a local news initiative in the US earlier this year, offering 11 projects financial, editorial and data-driven support.
It has also meant that news organisations are turning to local residents to help with reporting and storytelling. Detour Detroit, for example, trained citizens to in 'watchdog workshops' as part of a local investigative project and Hashtag Our Stories uses Snapchat filters to enable citizens to tell deeper stories geared for social media.
Podcasts are on the up and up. There is something about the convenience of audio which seems to be resonating with audiences, so there has not been a better time to grab a microphone and hit record. As a result, news organisations are increasingly looking to enter this space too.
Bellingcat launched their own podcast covering the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 disaster, British podcast The Tip Off returned with its fifth season, reporting on stories from the 1994 Loughinisland killings to alleged sex crimes by American singer R. Kelly, and BBC has produced a podcast made by and for black, British women.
Join us at Newsrewired on 27 November at Reuters, London, where we have panels and experts discussing quality journalism in the fake news era, driving diversity in your newsroom, using live podcasts to drive audience engagement and more. Head to newsrewired.com for the full agenda and tickets
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