By Naomi Owusu, Co-founder and CEO, Tickaroo
A few decades ago, tabloid and broadsheet newspapers were more than just a source of information. They brought communities together, swayed political opinion and gave local people an international perspective on current affairs. However, with the advancement of technology and today’s obsession with efficiency and convenience, we’re experiencing a massive shift in information consumption. Consumers now want their news in a short, sharp and easily accessible format.
In fact, a recent Global Media Outlook report, stated that the media type with the highest growth was online news consumed through websites and apps, with 42 per cent of consumers reporting to have increased their consumption of news in this way. On the other hand, the consumption of traditional media such as newspapers and radio were on the decline with only 18 percent of consumers accessing the news this way. So how exactly has a once formidable and trusted source of information declined so much? And is this simply due to a lack of convenience or are there other factors involved?
The digital revolution has brought major upheaval to the media industry as we see ourselves moving further away from the very distinctive traditional media sources such as print newspaper and radio in favour of more digital forms of news. For many decades print and broadcast media were the only way people could access news. They were relied upon to be trusted and effective vehicles for breaking international and domestic news, so much so that if something wasn’t reported in the papers, news channels or by the local radio station, then it simply wasn’t true for many. In fact, broadcast media and newspapers served more than the purpose of delivering news, many people often relied on the back pages of newspapers (which was a good source of revenue for papers prior to the mid-2000s) to find services and products they were looking for.
The advancement of technology has now pretty much changed this as traditional media outlets no longer feel like they need to confine themselves to producing content on just one platform. For instance, to meet an ever growing digital audience, many media outlets have adopted different platforms for disseminating their news including vast websites, live news blogging tools, podcasts, social media, and digital radio platforms. It is understandable that in the face of this digital revolution, it would be naïve for many not to diversify their news delivery methods, especially as consumers have varying preferences for news consumption.
Given how complex and interconnected the media landscape has become over the last few decades, it’s no surprise that media outlets and their journalists are now locked into a fierce battle over how quickly and accurately they can deliver news to as many people as possible. Technology has become the media’s new battleground for news dissemination.
Next-gen editorial solutions
In many industries the consumer is king, and this is no different for the media industry. Today’s consumers value convenience and expect their news to be delivered to them in a fast, accurate and easily digestible format. This is why social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become key sources of information for many people given their fast and easily digestible information delivery mechanisms. However, given the easily accessible nature of both platforms, they have unfortunately also become hotbeds for misinformation and disinformation campaigns by various extremists, political groups and other illegitimate entities. So whilst they are able to deliver news fast, the accuracy of the content being delivered can often be a sticking point for these platforms.
A possible solution for this could be ‘Liveblogs’, which have become the signature digital tool for many reputable media outlets across the world. Whether they are reporting on a live sporting event or presidential election race, many media outlets use liveblogs to deliver the latest news in real-time via smaller, accurate, and easy to follow segments.
Liveblogging started off as a novel tool that media outlets could use to deliver rolling news coverage in real-time and was mostly restricted to sports desks, where minute-by-minute updates from live football and cricket matches became a hit amongst their audiences.
Soon enough this hunger for live news and further development of liveblogging tools was the catalyst for the spread of live blogs to the news desks too. This is when liveblogs were being used to roll out live news coverage of important events such as the Iraq War inquiry, the US presidential election, and Brexit.
Best of both worlds
The key thing that makes liveblogging a standout news delivery tool for editorial teams is that content can be created, uploaded and delivered as quickly as possible without compromising on accuracy. Given its lack of access to the public and propaganda machines, it leaves little to no room for misinformation and disinformation, and untrustworthy news aggregators.
Additionally, liveblogging can also function in tandem with social media and does not necessarily have to replace it as social channels can become sources of information that can be integrated into the liveblogs. That way social media content can be curated by the journalists and be seamlessly integrated into liveblogs to add further depth to the overall stories. Media outlets can simply no longer ignore the reach and audience engagement social media outlets have.
As news spreads at an uncontrollable rate, the answer to disinformation might not be in regulatory measures, but in better technological principles and practices – ones that are ethical and influence some framework of positive control in our new digital world.