In the 1990s and early 2000s, journalism began to go online. What began as simply a few static websites for established newspapers has turned into a whole new way to get news. Today, many newspapers are finding most traffic through their online editions, and user-generated content has become more important than traditional journalism. Even established journalists use social media to find stories, videos, photos and more.
Seismic Changes in Online Journalism
When it comes to the future, online journalism and digital writing are informed by these basic shifts:
- Platform is everything: Today and in the foreseeable future, platform companies will control access to audiences. Being able to understand platforms and work within their rules to make content visible is a key component of most online journalism jobs. In the future, new platforms will become more popular, shifting again where people get their news. Smart-home voice assistants and other new technology will likely become more important for news and writing.
- Digital is key: Many newspapers are stopping print editions entirely or reducing them, while the number of digital users of journalism increases. Even TV stations have started getting more traction through online offerings than through the television.
- There are fewer gatekeepers: While major newspapers and broadcasters still get some respect, audiences today get their news from social media, search engines and platforms, which means there is less of a “top-down” information model. Journalists no longer need a staff position with a major paper to be authoritative. They can get authority by having a large enough audience and reach.
- Journalism faces trust and audience issues: Many readers access news sources less than once a day, and only 34% of Americans say they trust the news most of the time. With more attention-grabbers, such as entertainment and long working hours, news is not necessarily as important to people. As a result, many media outlets are closing or reducing operations.
- Quality is still important: High-quality writing is still being produced and recognized. Ethical, truthful and well-edited content is still considered to be part of digital journalism’s future. In the past, many people considered journalism to be dead, but there is no sign that journalism will ever not be needed.
- Journalism jobs are not as steady or as lucrative: In the past, journalism was seen as a steady career. Today, news and media are increasingly hiring contractors, and many outlets pay less, in part due to lower readership and reducing revenues. A 2008 study by the National Writers Union found average freelancer rates of $44,000 to $50,000 per year, while the 2018 report showed earning of less than $20,000 annually. In that same period, newsroom jobs dropped by 25%.
Getting Ready for the Future of Journalism
Are you ready to hire online journalists and online writers for your business? To find qualified and professional writers who can capture stories for you, contact us at Reaction Search International. RSI can be your partner in recruiting, screening and hiring the right professional journalists for your needs, and we stay with you from the moment you start your search all the way to a successful hire.