Threats and Opportunities for Journalism Online

Rasmus Nielsen is post doctoral research fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.  The following is a reflection on his lecture at the Oxford Internet Institute on Feb 13, 2013.

What does the Internet mean for journalistic content creation and the business model that supports it?  Rasmus Nielsen attempted to shine some light on the threats and opportunities posed by the shift to online journalism.  His talk focused on the threats but was informative nonetheless.

He draws an important distinction between the effects of online journalism on individual journalists, the organizational norms of journalism, and the journalism industry as a whole.  As he explains it, the Internet has increased the capabilities of individual journalists in a transformative way.  The access to information and means of communication available to the individual journalist today are far superior than what they were in the past.  These new capabilities have become the norm within news organizations.  Journalists are expected to get answers quickly and produce content in time with the quickening pace of 24-hour media organizations.  This has mixed effects, Nielsen says, as rapid digital content creation crowds out more traditional journalistic practices.

Where the effects of the Internet on individual journalists and news organizations have been either positive or mixed, Nielsen sees its effects on the industry as largely negative.  The traditional business models that supported journalistic content creation are crumbling; whatever online revenue these organizations are capable of generating cannot keep pace with declines in print revenue.

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