‘State of the News Media’ is no news flash
The headlines from the fourth annual State of the News Media are no surprise to anyone who has been thinking about the future of journalism. This NPR interview with Tom Rosenstiel, one of the report’s authors, covers familiar ground: the shift in power to the citizen/audience, the loss of the gatekeeper role for journalists, the abundance of opportunities presented to journalists by technology.
I haven’t plowed through the whole report yet, but I certainly agree with the basic premise in the overview: “The pace of change has accelerated.”
Maybe it should read “continues to accelerate.” That’s how it feels where I work. How about you?
How long should “it” be?
Now that scores of journalists are producing stories in new forms - especially photo galleries, audio slideshows and video - one question that’s become prevalent is “how long should it be?”
My feeling is these new forms should follow the formula most journalists apply to a written news story: how much do you need to tell the story? It’s true most newspapers have an average length for a basic news story (maybe around 15 inches) and will develop such a benchmark for audio slideshows (10-12 photos, each playing for 5-10 seconds) and video (3 minutes). But occasionally there will be stories that merit longer treatment and journalists - especially during this early period of experimentation - should give the story what it deserves.
The great thing about the electronic medium is that it’s so measureable. So if your audience can - or can’t - tolerate longer multimedia, you’ll know by the numbers of downloads and views. Then you can adjust your practices accordingly.
It’s all part of the evolution of news playing out before us.