The changing media landscape has revolutionised the way journalism is conducted, the world over.
With the help of FIA accredited journalist and blogger Jack Leslie, I’ll be taking a look at what new media offers to journalists.
Jack started his F1 blog in 2011 and has since written for other websites, such as Richland F1, and has even covered a grand prix from inside the paddock.
“With FIA accreditation being quite strict, in restricting certain websites from getting in the paddock, if I hadn’t have joined Richland I wouldn’t have got any races, that’s for sure.”
The transformation of media is down mainly to the proliferation of technology.
Let’s look back at where we were ten years ago.
The Internet had somewhere in the region of 800 million users. When people wanted to know something, they would “Ask Jeeves”.
Things have certainly come a long way since then.
In 2004, experts surveyed by PEW suggested that news organisations would see the radical change because of the Internet.
While they were correct about that, only 39% of them agreed that the Internet would help to expand people’s social networks.
But look at the world now: Facebook has over 800 million daily active users and Twitter has in excess of 280 million worldwide.
The majority of people now have smartphones and the web can be accessed from almost anywhere, meaning that the biggest potential audience in the world is online.
The proliferation of technology has also enabled a proliferation of content, meaning that websites targeting niches can operate more effectively than traditional media could.
Social media has also provided a platform for news to break instantaneously. The 140 character limit on Twitter means that news is bite size and easy for readers to digest.
Social media has also opened a new way for companies and organisations to release information. Rather than sending out press releases, announcements are now normally made on Twitter.
“Twitter, now, has become such a big resource for gathering stories and news.
“For example, in Formula One, all the teams share their announcements before they send out the press release so you can really see a lot of stories first if you’re on twitter and it’s become a massive tool for journalists I think.
“A lot of the stories I get and I write about are from Twitter. For example, the World Motorsport Council just announced changes for next season and I wasn’t aware of that because I didn’t get any emails or anything, I just go on Twitter and I see it.”
To think that there are 280 million people who could potentially read what you’re tweeting is astounding.
That’s why it’s so important for news organisations to exploit social media.
“Once you can gain a following on Twitter or Facebook, you can promote your pieces and get more people reading.
“It’s really important also for interaction and getting other people involved as well, so it’s played a massive part in me being able to share my work with other people and kind of get noticed.”
Getting noticed helped Jack to get involved with other websites, such as Richland F1. This helped him get FIA accreditation and report on a Grand Prix from inside the paddock.
Cross Media Convergence
Traditional media services are multi-platform. Gone are the days where radio was only on the airwaves and newspapers restricted to print. And this is a massive benefit to everyone.
Newspapers, who in the past couldn’t always “break” news because the paper wouldn’t come out until the following morning, can now post their articles far more contemporaneously online.
And rather than waiting for people to come and look at the news, they can push it at them through social media.
Not having to stick to print means that they can also take advantage of video as well.
For broadcast, the Internet offers a place for full interviews that were too long for their intended medium, to be viewed in the form of a “web extra”.
This means that broadcast news is not time limited to the extent it used to be.
In many ways, the vertically integrated web has broken down the barriers to publication.
Journalists can self-publish, rather than sell their articles to newspapers, and make money through advertising on their website or blog.
Being able to publish your own work and distribute it digitally also makes it easier for journalists to reach their audience.
Rather than having one article in a newspaper, or on a news website, you can have all of your stories in one place, easy to read one after another.
“I think definitely with blogs, it enables you to create a great portfolio. You can have all your work in one place and you can showcase what you can do.”
“It gives you a lot more creative freedom. What else is great about having a blog is it’s kind of like a journey.
“As you go along, you can improve and improve and see what’s good and see what’s bad. You can try different things. You don’t have to tell an editor what you want to do and send off all your ideas.”
User Generated Content
Social media has opened the door for UGC to become widely seen.
‘Citizen Journalists’ who witness a rapidly breaking news story unfolding can provide information to the public, often before professional journalists have even managed to arrive on the scene.
CNN iReport provides the CNN audience the opportunity to post their stories on a national, highly regarded news website.
In this sense, consumers have become ‘prosumers’, who produce content as well as view it.
Using Demotix, members of the public can upload their photos to the web and they can then be sold to media organisations. People can get paid for literally being in the right place at the right time.
Listen to the interview with Jack Leslie here:
The roles of publishers and distributors have changed thanks to new media.
Social networking allows mass distribution at no cost, providing you have a big enough following.
The proliferation of technology means that we are no longer reliant on big media conglomerates for our news.
News media is all about smaller, niche websites that publish content that is more specific to a bigger audience in a way that wasn’t possible in the past.