Reflecting about the future of journalism

The news industry has been disrupted by the Internet and the evolution of a new digital economy. The traditional business models seem to be in flux as ad revenues are down and readership is changing. Moreover, not recognizing major technology trends that changed the world almost overnight have brought on a sense of urgency. 

As a technology marketer, I was reminded of principles to read about in Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” book, about marketing technology products. What if we were to consider journalism as a technology product, what would be some of the steps to build it up, given the current state of the industry and the available technology?

Going back to some marketing basics, publications should probably reevaluate their identities: who is their audience, what is the product that they deliver, and what makes it unique or different? 

  • Who is the audience for this product? Future readers to consider consist of a generation of digital natives who grew up in a world of convergence and social media. 
  • What is the product? This is where different publications should distinguish themselves. Is it breaking news, or popular news? Should it focus on data journalism and focus on the verification of facts and truth? 
  • How is this news product consumed? Should the interaction be ready for more voice recognition and audiovisual delivery? What could be next, even beyond mobile phones and tablets?
  • Which technology platforms can help most delivery on these? In a technology-driven world this might be a uniquely important question, especially as it relates to the powerful capabilities of AI. 

As they engage with this process, I would predict that publications will soon reemerge with innovative business models, and more. We are bound to see the following emerge as differentiators to attract readership:

  • Business model shifts, with methods that would allow these publications to operate without ad revenue.
  • Effective data journalism, with reliance on technology, publications could re-earn public trust by acting as gatekeepers to the “truth” and helping uncover misinformation. 
  • The right mix of technology: have AI capabilities to dissect, verify and unmask fake news.
  • Crowdsourcing: be able to have an interested and engaged global community involved in the news collection, but moderated and guided by trained journalists that can function as editors

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