Reuters Institute Study Examines Future of Journalism

February 12, 2019

What does the future look like for journalism, with the lack of public trust and massive job cuts at outlets like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and local dailies? In their article on “Five Things Everybody Needs to Know about the Future of Journalism,” Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Meera Selva with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism identified five international trends affecting journalism today. The four key points below cover how the digital sphere has changed, who distributes the content, and the relevance of news to consumers.

  • Media organizations are still the content creators, but they are no longer the gatekeepers. According to Reuters Institute data, 65 percent of news consumers use search engines, social media and news aggregators to find their news. While news media organizations can create the news agenda, they rely on these platforms to make their content accessible to their audience.
  • The rise of consumers using digital media has introduced users to more diverse sources of information. While in practice news consumers directly rely on three to four sources to get their news, platform algorithms enable automated serendipity to their users. This is in part how some platforms, e.g., Facebook, integrate news into individual users’ content, along with posts from friends, influencers and organizations.
  • With digital media, the journalistic business model has changed to a 24/7 environment and leaner newsrooms than previous decades. Certain news coverage, such as national politics, may continue to have coverage and staffing, while more specialized areas, e.g., local news, will experience smaller newsrooms.
  • While journalism faces many challenges, news stories are better than ever. While more journalists are operating as generalists to curate more and more content, reporters are also engaging with readers over joint fact-checking, collaborative investigative reporting with peers, and more. These tactics, made possible through digital media, have allowed news to become more accessible, timely, and engaged with readers.

Want to learn more? Contact Katrinna Dodge with University Public Relations at kdodge@umn.edu.