Newsroom monopoly’s over; it’s the era of new media
Karachi: Julien Le Bot, a French digital journalist, believes that it is time for classic newsrooms to accept that the “new media” are changing the dynamics of news delivery and this is why the monopoly of the former is reducing day by day, not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world.
“How news is processed in a new newsroom in comparison with a traditional one is very different,” he said while delivering a talk at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday afternoon.
“However,” he added, “that does not mean that professional ethics are also changing. Now, a newsroom doesn’t work the way it used to before and many are now beginning to redefine their positions. The new media use the same professional ethics but different tools and techniques for processing news.”
He elaborated that a freelance or open journalist could work on a single project with several other people having expertise in different areas such as videos and illustrations.
The change, the French journalist explained, was not just restricted to Europe but he had also observed and felt it while visiting the Middle East — a case in point being the Arab Spring.
Le Bot said storytelling across the world was becoming more and more interactive and people’s habits of consuming news were also changing.
“For organisations wishing to move towards the new media and individuals planning to launch projects, it is important to first grasp the habits of how people like their news.”
He cited the example of biggest French daily, Le Monde, which had changed the classic style of news processing to focus on audience which was rapidly moving online. “Le Monde’s policy is to first deliver the news to web and mobile and then follow the rest in the paper,” he said.
“But the papers that have retained their classic styles are now struggling to meet the needs of their consumers because the rules of the digital media are different.”
At the same time, he added, in order to help themselves stay current, news organisations had now begun to look younger and tech-savvy that could work on traditional and new media simultaneously. “They are attempting to begin using new tools to follow the same code of ethics.”
However, the new media are also facing their share of challenges. For one, he said, it was harder for open journalists or those working in the new media to get news readers to trust them. But according to Le Bot, this was where a free journalist could interact with his audience, share news and even ask for verification using the internet and various applications. “For example, crowd sourcing is a very useful tool for verifying the spots and the strength of a protest demonstration and so is live blogging,” he said.
In this regard, he said, the French government had done freelance journalists a favour by introducing an open data policy in 2011 and setting up Etalab. “This way, getting information for journalists not working in the traditional media has become a bit easier.”
Le Bot advised professionals looking to work in the new media to develop their own brand and profile so when they approached someone with a project, those in the editorial team would already know about their work and credibility.