The decline of journalism? – What the future holds for media workers in 2022?
Journalism is experiencing a bit of an existential crisis. It is forced to digitize or die a natural death if it remains in its traditional form. The journalism and publishing community, for the most part, is quickly adapting to the new reality, and their revenues are growing, despite obvious declines in interest. Are advertising and creator media the future of traditional media?
This year is shaping up to be the year of the future, according to publishers “A year of consolidation for the news industry”. Journalism is impressed with its weight, but also sees lighter garments for itself. The situation related to pandemics, increasingly harsh international politics, disinformation and social scandals is not very favorable for journalists. There is a lot to talk about, in fact. But remaining in a constant and constant need to report more and more serious or equally important facts is contrary to the psychological well-being of the human body. Prolonged state of social tension also exacerbates mass polarization, which contributes to media polarization. It does not have a positive impact on the facts of the journalistic world. Nevertheless, there are still lights in the tunnels. In tunnels, plural, because the paths are many – as many publishers, as many opportunities, as many journalists, as many stories – how digitization and the mortal times are changing media?
Information management from the business side
The Reuters Institute recently undertook a study of the news industry. Researchers have tried to determine how media publishers and journalists are doing and what trends and challenges they face.The most obvious and problematic is the digital transformation, which has so far provided journalism with an additional equivalent, but is now a cornerstone without which the revenues of media organizations will dissolve like a fog.Hence, for many of them, paid subscriptions to their news channels have become a primary goal, although it is predicted that interest among audiences in this type of information will only decline, especially in an uncertain economic climate.
As many as 59 percent. respondents reported that their revenues had increased over the past year. This happened even when they noticed that they were not generating new traffic, or the traffic was on a downward trend. This was the observation reported by 54 percent. of respondents. There is merit in the growth of the e-commerce sector, causing digital ads to flourish, which publishers say has contributed to increased interest in media subscriptions.
– After a period when digital ad revenue leaked to giant platforms, publishers may do better this year. Tougher privacy laws restricting third-party data, along with fears of misinformation, have already begun to push the tide back toward trusted brands, but advertising will remain a competitive and demanding business, and not every publisher will be able to make it. – reads the Reuters Institute article.
The regulatory specter posed by European Union big-tech executives looms ahead, so the discussion of platform regulation becomes real this year. National authorities, however, will not be able to control technology players as they are just beginning the process of enforcing the dot. personal data, and we are already facing artificial intelligence, the development of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and artificial worlds called metaverse.Although the previously mentioned are seen as challenges and threats, they are also opportunities, especially for journalists whose domain is, after all, information and entertainment. Interestingly, as many as forty percent of respondents thought policy interventions could help, but just over a third thought they would make no difference. For a quarter of respondents, the situation of political meddling in the technological situation can only make things worse for broadcasters.
Concerns about journalism
The study came to an interesting conclusion, according to which the heads of their teams and those running the company see and have a concrete vision for the development of their company, although they are not so confident in the business they hold in their hands. A portion of the total surveyed equal to three quarters are confident about their prospects for 2022, but six in 10 are already worried about the future of journalism itself.The main reasons for uncertainty are considered to be increasing social polarization, attacks on journalists and free media, disinformation wars and financial instability for local publishing entities.
Will paid subscriptions contribute to a stratified society?
The report indicates that less than 80 percent of. publishers say that the top priority for maintaining the stability of their revenues will be Planning and implementing a strategy to encourage subscription and membership. Subscription strategy outpaces even display and native ads. In doing so, nearly half of those surveyed said they were concerned that by focusing on the audience for paid content, they might contribute to the devaluation of information in society. Its unfortunate result may be to reach an already educated and well-informed public at a time when poorer individuals will not be able to afford it.
Technology, philanthropy and less Facebook?
It is clear to the news community that they must focus on at least three or four sources of funding this year. Nearly 30 percent. Publishers expect significant revenue from technology platforms for content licensing or innovation. Fifteen in 100 publishers are currently seeking funding or philanthropic foundations, a higher percentage than last year. There’s also an increasingly keen eye on resuming projects that were planned before the outbreak, but which the outbreak has severely interrupted. They are looking less and less vividly at Facebook and putting more effort into developing content on Instagram, TikTok and YouTub. This will create a compulsion to tighten intra-organizational regulations on social media behavior. While Facebook and Twitter reporting tactics will not disappear from the journalistic mentality. Publishers fear expressing more personal views and content could undermine trust and editorial status.
Journalism and global warming
Politicians, journalists and community activists alike are noticing that climate change is getting worse every year. The factors that cause these changes are up for debate. Editors are unsure how to handle a situation that for many represents a polarizing worldview, and the multifaceted nature of the issue causes a clash on every aspect. When it comes to reporting on climate change, only 34 percent.of those surveyed rated overall coverage as good, even if their own coverage was better, which was mirrored by 65 percent of. respondents. According to journalists who specialize in news programs, it is very difficult to get the public interested in a story that happens slowly and has no twists. Merely noticing these effects, can lead to the displacement of this information in the audience or a mania of despondency and frustration with powerlessness.News editors say that although it is difficult, it is worth employing the necessary specialist journalists who could enliven the discussion and explain the implications of the current state of affairs.
Within innovation, not much will happen this year. 67 percent. respondents declare that most of their time will be spent on iterating and improving existing products, making them faster and more effective. Only 32 percent. see the introduction of new products and brand extensions as paramount. The biggest difficulty to overcome in terms of innovation is the lack of adequate financial resources, as these are consumed by the economic crisis and problems in maintaining technical staff.
As far as the forms of investment of resources and ways of conducting broadcasts are concerned, the greatest focus this year will be on podcasts and digital audio, which is an expectation for 80 percent of. of publishers. For 70 percent. mailing and focusing on newsletters will be important. Such a large number of people interested in these forms does not come out of nowhere, because until now these were the two channels most effective in building loyalty and expanding the group of subscribers. Journalists have mixed feelings about mixed reality, as investments in VR, AR and metaversive applications were announced by only 8 percent. respondents.
Companies and media houses are relentlessly planning to develop artificial intelligence. It has long been used to provide creators with personalized content and experiences within the platform. Moreover, artificial intelligence also helps in managing and increasing production. 85 percent. of agencies surveyed say artificial intelligence will be particularly important for better content recommendations, 81 percent. believes it is brilliant at automating newsrooms, while 69 percent. believe that artificial intelligence is important from a business perspective because it attracts new customers and makes them stay longer.
Polish economy of creators
Reuters Institute predicts media will become stronger with acquisitions of. Media companies will thus seek to increase scale and value in their subscription or advertising businesses. The ever-increasing push by social media platforms to develop creative channels will give journalism new sources to watch and comment on, but the opportunity to create such content itself. A visible result of this are commentary channels on Polish YouTube, which focus on the activities of influencers, becoming opinion leaders themselves. For journalists, it can be a gateway to expanding their information influence, which has clearly been noticed among Polish professionals. The success of the Sports Channel and the launch of DTŚ by Maciej Orłoś clearly show the potential of social media in the development of information media in general. However, these channels are governed by their own rules and in order to survive on them you have to be able to deftly juggle the specifics of a given medium with what the creator has to say. The mentioned creators manage to do it infallibly, who, while creating new formats and searching for their new online identity, do not lose their character and informative mission. Currently, the actions of Jaroslaw Kuźniar, who started working on his Kuźniar project, i.e. creating a marketing agency and working on the development of his podcast series, seem to confirm that these are assumptions worthy of consideration approaching confirmation. One of the brightest cases is Jakub Klawiter, who moved straight from the television to youtube, where he shows how technology changes us and ourselves. Another example is the figure of Maciej Dabrowski, who as a TV technician decided to open his own channel, which for many years led the way in time cards. In the case of the last two gentlemen, however, we are not dealing with last year’s migration, as they are long-time veterans of the Polish influencer scene, and “Warga Man” and “Keyboards” are well known, especially among the young audience.
According to researchers, we will hear more and more often about journalists’ professional burnout, which will increase the feeling of taking care of health and psychological comfort of their employees. Also predicted is the extent of inter-editorial collaboration to address audience and platform challenges. Reuters’ main focus here is on lobbying you on your policies, but not only that, as they can collaborate on advertising, jointly investigating and writing articles, jointly advertising each other, and they can also do joint initiatives on logging on to their services. From the technological aspects, there will be more and more talk about metaverse and the devices that can support them. You can expect lobbying efforts in the metaverse for corporations to show how to use it as a tool at work, and the hype around NFT and cryptocurrencies will increase. For our part, we can add that governments around the world will drum up the hype by introducing their own electronic currencies.
So what does the future hold for journalism? The cannibalization of the media will probably lead to a change in journalistic forms and a remodeling of the very structures of running media agencies. The digital transformation that has accelerated in the last two years is leaving deeply unadapted influencers, who will likely eventually be acquired by larger companies. The world of news media is at a crossroads, and only by listening to the trends without getting lost in them can the profession still be saved.