Trends in convergence in journalism

Last year it was all talk, but it now seems as if convergence is really kicking in. I believe that this is a fundamental change – perhaps the most revolutionary move since [//insert last revolutionary move in publishing//] ….. a bloke named Caxton set up a printing press in 1476.

Caxton’s invention put a load of monks out of business. These days it’s the jobs of "non-converged" journalists that are for the chop. But boosting website offerings, creating blogs and including Web2.0 functionality is all well and good, but online ad rates have to rise as well. That’s the great unknown. When will we reach the magical "tipping point" when online ad rates overtake print rates? 

For us who work in journalism university departments, the question is how do we prepare students for this future? Most of the students I talk to still want to work in paper or broadcast. Seeing your name in a magazine on the shelves of WH Smith is pretty cool, but students must realise that online is equally important.

Whilst I am on the subject of preparing journalists for the future, Jeff Jarvis wrote a particularly interesting comment in Media Guardian about his view on teaching journalism at City University of New York.

Here is a summary of some recent developments, I’ll probably add to this list over time.

  1. Emap – Strategy name "Magazine 2010". I’ve blogged about this before. The company is restructuring for a multi-platform future. Links: Guardian, Mad. Emap also acquired mobile user generated content business YoSpace. Are these plans just to keep the City happy? Or are they walking their walk? Link:
  2. The Guardian: The prostitutes and druggies of King’s Cross have been forced out. King’s X has gone upmarket and where hookers once walked, Guardian journalists will make their way to work. Alan Rusbridger, editor, said the company was still run in three "silos" – The
    , The Observer and Guardian Unlimited – and was hampered in
    part by an "old media mentality". So the newspaper is moving from Farringdon to a shiny new "integrated newsroom" in King’s Cross. Link: Guardian.The company has also invested in podcasting (with a new advertising deal) and boosted video content. Link: The Editor Weblog. The  Guardian also intendeds to launch an American
    version of its Comment is Free portal as part of its bid to be the
    world’s leading "voice of liberalism".
  3. The Telegraph – Taking inspiration from NY Times and USA Today, The Telegraph moved into a new high-tech, integrated, newsroom last summer. Shane Richmond of The Telegraph explained in an article on "That instead of covering one news story as two
    separate entities [print and online], we aim to view it as one story
    with many outlets. The whole process – from ticker and text alert, to
    website and RSS feed, and on to newspaper and magazine – is
    co-ordinated as one, rather than being a series of separate processes.". The website has improved, with new blogs, podcasts and video. It’s even written a style guide for bloggers.
  4.  VNU – strategy name "Total Media". VNU, publisher of Computer Active and Accountacy Age, has invested in video studio facilities. John Barnes of VNU said that reporters working
    within the studios were a cross between "a blogger and a journalist". He
    added: "As the media mix is evolving, so the role of the journalist is
    changing. Filing a news story today means that a journalist is
    producing a media asset, which is then used across multiple outlets and
    platforms, for example print, online, e-books etc." See Press Gazette for the full report.
  5. Reed (RBI) (Publisher of New Scientist, Flight International etc). The company has boosted it’s web offering, including social networking technology and journalist blogs. Karl Schneider of  RBI told The Guardian:"To be a journalist now, it’s a lot like being a print journalist 400
    years ago, the rules haven’t been set." Schneider’s personal blog.

For more discussion on the integrated newsroom and multi-platform publishing, see Editors Weblog

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