A publication designer, a web editor, a photojournalist, a broadcast journalist, a “talk show host”, etc. These are some of the many hats an online journalist has to wear. As I read Stefanac’s steps in setting up a blog, I realized that an online journalist does everything that would have otherwise been diversified in a news organization. Hence, in the future, I foresee two situations that may arise.
Firstly, more and more young journalists would be trained and well-equipped in all fields of journalism to meet the demand of the skills needed for the blogosphere, now a mainstream medium for news. Journalism schools will offer a degree that encompasses film production, journalism, communication research and public relations. The newsroom will be replaced by journalists who can be called to take photos on one day, edit the page layout on another, or shoot a one-minute clip for an news broadcast and later put them altogether onto the web.
And this becomes reflective of the blogosphere too. Online journalists may have their very own “broadcast stations” right at their laptops. It is a one-man show. Yet they are not entirely alone, as the audience is the one providing information through the blogging community, as mentioned in We the Media. Journalism is a conversation, where the audience will become engaged in the reporting process. Hence in the future, the news organization becomes a single-man online production supported by potentially infinite sources and viewers.
And this is already taking place in Singapore. We have an online portal called (STOMP) http://www.stomp.com.sg/about/about.html
set up by the main newspaper, The Straits Times. STOMP allows citizens to post photos, videos of unusual news sightings and provides an alternative source of information for the main paper.
The second scenario is this: Online journalists have become “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Due to the packed course curriculum in journalism schools, most courses only skim the surface. Even in the field, the journalist cannot develop a particular area of expertise as he has to juggle so many jobs. The result is sloppy and lazy reporting.
In light of these two future scenarios, I have two questions:
1) Though Gillmor mentioned that the blogosphere helps to reduce the control of the corporate world (which brings to mind the idea of political economy and big media conglomerate), how can the power of the blogosphere and accessibility to open-source information be maintained if big conglomerates start buying over the blogosphere?
2) The editor is the gatekeeper of news in the traditional news organization. How will this change when the audience becomes the gatekeeper of news, deciding what kind of news they want through engaging in online conversation and providing news tip off?