Journalism in the digital era: How do we go there from here

 Saleem Ahmed, TBS    ২৮ জানুয়ারি ২০২০, মঙ্গলবার, ৩:১৮    মতামত

Let me start with a question. Have you read the newspaper today? What if I ask you, have you read any news today? If the answer is 'yes' in both cases, there is a high probability you have seen it on your smartphone. As we enter the second decade of the new millennium, it is undeniable the around 400-year-old newspaper business model has been changing, rather drastically. This is pragmatism on the part of the business as it is only responding to its readers' needs around the world. The most crucial change in mass media has been driven by the convergence of media, the merging of mass media outlets like TV, radio, the Internet, along with the development and adoption of various portable and interactive technologies have brought together a new concept of media platform that is always available and always connected.

Now seven-in-ten American adults, who own a smartphone, are the potential consumers of media. This so called "third screen" (the first screen being the TV, and the second screen, the desktop and laptop computers) allows its users to access news whenever they want, in whatever form they want, and from any location they choose. There is no reliable study done yet in our mediascape but it can be stated, at the risk of being rather unscientific, that the younger consumers of news now use the third screen exclusively to get their information.

Do you want to read a news? You can get in on your smartphone while you commute to work or back. You want to watch TV? There is an app for that. Music? There is an app for that too. The presentation of news, honed to perfection for centuries, has changed too. Now it is not only black letters on a white background, solid, immutable.

News writing format has changed as well. As reader interest is fleeting and they can just leave the page with a tap or click it is important to engage them from the very first sentence and hold their attention for as long as possible. A study by the Pew Research Center shows reader interest is inversely related with story length. The longer the story, the less interest a reader will have to read all of it. But, it is only true for short-form stories, up to 999 words. Reader interest goes up for stories over 1000 words. There is a great change in the Internet news era in the long form story writing.

Long-form stories now come with graphical animated display of information presented in easily digestible forms. Click on a link and a related video would start to play but the sound may be muted in case you are watching it on a crowded bus. You just need to tap to turn the sound on. News related audio clips are embedded in the body of the news. Maps, often animated, are being used more and more. Users can interact with the web page in many ways now to get multimedia experience while consuming the news. They are now news consumers and more and more the news businesses are becoming content producers.

Most newspapers have invested heavily in creating a digital presence already. They are producing more and more content for digital platform and social media sites for their papers.

When 5G wireless Internet service hits the consumer market and the initial 5G entry barrier disappears, it will be a game changer for all content producers. The demand for high definition content is going to go through the roof.

News persons everywhere will have the opportunities to be more creative, new jobs will be created and the borders between radio, television, newspaper, and online platform will disappear. There will be another great convergence as very high speed (theoretically 10 gigabits per second, hundred times faster than current 4G) wireless Internet connects everything from smart cars to connected phones to Internet of Things (IoT). What does that mean for you? While it took 26 hours in 3G to download a two hour-movie, and six minutes on 4G, you can now start watching it approximately within 4 seconds. That is the claim of the Consumer Technology Association, a body representing about 2,200 companies in the United States. Some phone companies in the US are already rolling out 5G service in limited areas. Of course you're itching to know when 5G would reach Bangladesh. While there still is no firm date, Huawei has presented 5G experience in the recent Digital Bangladesh Mela.

Does that mean the days of the print newspaper are numbered? Strange as it may seem, many commentators and analysts still see a future of the print media. Some even report print media is thriving. While the number of print newspapers is dwindling the number of unique visitors to newspaper websites is increasing. Falling ad revenue for print newspapers is a global trend. Readers can read the news for free so why would anyone read the printed paper?

When I asked an eminent editor how long does he see the future of printed newspaper here, he thoughtfully said, "At least 10 to 15 years." The CEO of The New York Times Mark Thomson said in 2018, "I believe at least 10 years is what we can see in the US for our print products,"

He said he'd like to have the print edition "survive and thrive as long as it can," but admitted it might face an expiration date.

Obviously, it all boils down to economics. They mean to hold on to printing the venerable daily until it is profitable no more.

The real opportunity and hope for newspapers is in the new generation of tech savvy readers. Meanwhile, newspapers everywhere are searching for a viable economic model and digital subscription may be one of the best alternatives designed so far.

Its from www.tbsnews.net. main article is here :  Journalism in the digital era: How do we go there from here

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