By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 27, 2014
The digital age is transforming the face of journalism, challenging journalists to tell stories in new and innovative ways. Today audiences are being bludgeoned by tons of information resulting in limited attention spans. What this means for journalist is they have to present their stories in a manner that not only attracts but keeps attention.
Journalists are increasingly under pressure to learn about new tech tools that are significantly changing the face of the practice and putting power in the hands of audiences to create content.
“The impact of journalism and technology is its changing the way people engage with information and its a challenge for journalists to learn new techniques and new tools to communicate information,” said Professor Ron Yaros, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
“Anyone can be a journalist now so its not necessarily being at that site, recording information, it’s doing it well. It’s reporting accurately, producing the best video, getting the word out quickly on Twitter and other social media just being the best possible communicator using the same technology that all citizens are using but as a journalists you have higher standards,” said Professor Yaros.
Why Telling Stories in New Ways Matters
Journalism in the digital age is about helping audiences filter through the gazillions of content being produced on a daily basis through high quality, interactive and engaging storytelling.
According to Elizabeth Shell, Data Producer at PBS.com Newshour, journalism is being fundamentally redesigned based on new tools but the focus remains telling stories.
“We’re still doing the same basic things, we’re still finding stories. We’re still telling them. We’re still talking to people. We’re still fact based storytellers. But the way we’re telling stories is changing, its much more visual, its much more interactive,” she said. “It’s not necessarily just words on a page anymore. We’re experimenting with ways to get folks invested in stories.”
Why Journalists Should Learn New Tools
With journalism undergoing a myriad of changes due to the emergence of new technologies, learning new tools can help journalist to better deliver their work in the digital age.
According to David Kaplan, Executive Director of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, new tools are having a transformative effect on investigative journalism.
He referred to new tech tool as the great equalizer, allowing investigative journalists access to more informative than before.
“We can do so much more, so quickly. We have access to data and documents and people that we never have had before. It would take weeks to get information that we can now get in minutes. Technology is allowing us to get so much more information, to get contact with our colleagues around the world with colleagues around the world to help us on stories. It’s really been transformative,” he said.