Bridging gaps: the future of journalism?

A couple of weeks ago, we had a guest speaker for our course Journalism and Production Studies: he worked for the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD). He showed us a visualisation of different social media communities and their communication on Twitter in the Netherlands and Belgium. Groups like right-wing populists, more elitist left-wing communities and YouTubers were separated from each other by different colours. A huge part of the online population and communication turned out to be right-wing and populist.

The guest speaker also showed us a graph that visualised the political focus of different Dutch news media. As it turned out, a large majority of these news sources were on the left side of the political spectrum. This can be considered problematic: right-wing populism plays a big role in the online world. In fact, a huge potential audience for news outlets is being ignored by journalists. This might be explained by the fact that most people who choose a career in journalism have a left-wing bias (I’d love to talk more about the reason for this bias, but I have to respect the word limit).

In this week’s literature, many views were expressed about the question how journalism can survive in the future. Burns and Matthews focus on the need of innovative organizational structure; Van Der Haak discusses options like “visual storytelling”, crowd funding and automated content; Naldi and Picard underline the need of organisational objectives based on previous experiences. However, nobody speaks of the specific option to bridge the cultural gap between the average journalist and a large potential audience. Maybe journalists should step out of their left-wing bubble and try to create content for people who are on the other side of the political spectrum. After all, I think theye’s missing out on a lot of money.

Pien Goutier

Bibliography:

Burns, Lynette Sheridan, and Benjamin J. Matthews. ““Post-industrial” journalism as a creative industry.” World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering 11.6 (2017): 1533-1541.

Naldi, Lucia, and Robert G. Picard. ““Let’s Start An Online News Site”: Opportunities, Resources, Strategy, and Formational Myopia in Startups.” Journal of Media Business Studies 9.4 (2012): 69-97.

Van der Haak, Bregtje, Michael Parks, and Manuel Castells. “The future of journalism: Networked journalism.” International Journal of Communication 6 (2012): 16.

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